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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in American men. The need to find effective means of preventing this disease is clear. Vitamin A and its analogues (retinoids) act as transcriptional regulators within the nucleus and have been tested as both preventative and therapeutic agents in human malignancy. Fenretinide (N-4-hydroxyphenyl retinamide) (4HPR) has been found to be relatively nontoxic in preclinical experiments and early clinical trials. Its toxicity and feasibility for use as a chemoprevention agent in men at high risk for prostate cancer was evaluated in this study. Twenty-two patients were entered into a clinical trial that involved taking 4HPR for twelve 28-day cycles. Eight patients with negative prestudy biopsies had positive prostate biopsies prior to or at the time of their 12th cycle evaluation. This led to early closure of the study. 4HPR was well-tolerated, and no major toxicities were associated with its use. The significance of this study is limited due to small sample size. Chemoprevention studies such as this can be difficult to complete because of the commitment required of otherwise healthy individuals; nevertheless additional dosages and schedules for 4HPR administration merit further investigation.