Regulation of lipocalin-2 gene by the cancer chemopreventive retinoid 4-HPR

Stefano Caramuta, Loris De Cecco, James F. Reid, Laura Zannini, Manuela Gariboldi, Lars Kjeldsen, Marco A. Pierotti, Domenico Delia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) is a nonclassical retinoid with cancer preventive effects in vivo and antiproliferative and apoptotic activities in vitro. Examining the transcriptional profile of human breast cancer cell lines, MCF7 and T47D, treated with 4-HPR, we identified the lipocalin member LCN2 (NGAL or 24p3) as a gene, markedly induced by the retinoid. Because of its presumed function in apoptosis, LCN2 was examined more thoroughly in response to 4-HPR. Like mRNA, the expression of LCN2 protein in MCF7 and T47D cells was highly induced in a time-dependent manner by 4-HPR, but not by its inactive metabolite 4-MPR and, to some extent, this event was linked to the free radicals normally generated by 4-HPR. All-trans retinoic acid also induced LCN2 protein, particularly in T47D cells. Ectopic LCN2 compromised cell viability, and the few MCF7 clones that survived LCN2 overexpression were less sensitive than do mock cells to 4HPR, indicating that selective pressure for survival to LCN2 confers cross-resistance to 4-HPR. Significantly, ablation of LCN2 induction by siRNA did not modify the response to 4-HPR, implying that LCN2 is not critical for apoptosis by 4-HPR. Our results indicate that 4-HPR markedly induces LCN2 expression, but this event may not represent an apoptotic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1599-1606
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Apoptosis
  • Chemoprevention
  • Lipocalin
  • Retinamide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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