Fenretinide is a synthetic retinoid that interferes with the attachment of retinol to retinol binding protein. It may inhibit accumulation of A2E and lipofuscin, and is proposed as therapy for Stargardt disease. It is currently used for cancer therapy, and mild depression of rod function and dark adaptation is a side effect at standard dosage. We studied two youngsters (aged between 12 and 13) receiving high doses as compassionate treatment for neuroblastoma: 800 mg daily for 1 out of every 3 weeks, for roughly 2 years. Goldmann-Weekers dark adaptometry, ISCEV standard ERG and mfERG were performed, and blood was analyzed for vitamin A. Neither child complained of night blindness or showed retinal fundus abnormalities. On initial exam, dark adaptation thresholds were elevated by 3 log units, and there were no detectable rod ERG responses. However, cone responses and mfERG were normal. Retesting one subject 3 months after stopping the drug revealed normal rod thresholds (slightly delayed) and low normal rod ERG responses. Serum vitamin A levels were normal from both subjects, but there is no record of whether the samples were drawn during cycles on or off drug. Our study demonstrates that high dose Fenretinide can suppress rod function quite completely, although serum vitamin A and rod function apparently return to normal or near normal levels rapidly once the drug is stopped. It is intriguing that cone function and access to vitamin A seems largely independent of Fenretinide effects on retinol availability.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s10633-008-9132-y
View details for PubMedID 18523815