Fenretinide-polyvinylalcohol conjugates: New systems allowing fenretinide intravenous administration

I. Orienti, Guendalina Zuccari, V. Bergamante, R. Carosio, R. Gotti, M. Cilli, P. G. Montaldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (fenretinide, 4-HPR) has been shown to be active toward many tumors without appreciable side effects. However its in vitro activity does not match a correspondent efficacy in vivo. The main reason is that the drug's hydrophobicity hinders its bioavailability in the body fluids. Even if the drug is previously dissolved in organic solvents, such as ethanol or DMSO, the subsequent dilution in body fluids trigger its precipitation in fine aggregates characterized by very low dissolution efficiency, never reaching amounts suitable for therapeutic response. To date no intravenous formulation of 4-HPR exists on the market. The 4-HPR linkage to a hydrophilic polymer by a covalent bond easily hydrolyzable in aqueous environment is expected to increase the drug's aqueous solubility, providing the free drug after hydrolysis of the covalent bond. This may be a useful tool for the preparation of aqueous intravenous formulations of 4-HPR. For this purpose, we linked 4-HPR to polyvinylalcohol (PVA) by a carbonate bond at different drug/hydroxy vinyl monomer molar ratios. We demonstrated that conjugation increased 4-HPR aqueous solubility and strongly inhibited neuroblastoma cell proliferation. In addition, in an in vivo neuroblastoma. metastatic model, we obtained a significant antitumor effect as a consequence of the improved drug bioavailability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3258-3262
Number of pages5
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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