Treating malignant tumor through the induction of cell differentiation has been an attractive concept, but clinical development of differentiation-inducing agents to treat malignant tumor, especially for solid tumors has been limited to date. Nerve growth factor, all trans retinoic acid, dimethyl sulfoxide, active form vitamin D3, peroxisome proliferatoractivated receptorg, 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate, hexamethylene-bis-acetamide, transforming growth factor-β, butyric acid, cAMP, and vesnarinone are known to have a differentiation-inducing capability on solid tumors in vitro and/or in vivo. Moreover some of the differentiation-inducing agents have been used for treating patients with solid tumor, but the therapeutic effect of the differentiation-inducing agents on solid tumor is not strong when compared with that of conventional chemotherapeutic agents. However, because most of the differentiation-inducing agents can potentiate the effect of conventional chemotherapy or radiation therapy, combination of differentiation-inducing therapy with conventional chemotherapy or radiation therapy might be used as a second- or third-line therapy in patients with advanced cancer. Furthermore, analysis of the molecular mechanisms of the tumor differentiation therapy might provide selective and targeted molecules for novel cancer therapy.
Keywords: Differentiation, solid tumor, salivary gland tumor, tumor dormancy, vesnarinone, TSC-22