The outcome in patients with breast cancer is not satisfactory to date, although new chemotherapy regimens have been introduced in clinics. Therefore, novel approaches are required for better management of patients with breast cancer. In this study, we tested the cytotoxic activity of a new combination of fenretinide, a synthetic retinoid, with indole-3-carbinol, a natural product present in vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, against MCF-7 (estrogen receptor-positive) and MDA-MB-231 (estrogen receptor-negative) cell lines. It has been found that the combination resulted in more powerful cytotoxic activity, by induction of apoptosis, compared with that when they were used singly. In conclusion, this novel combination warrants in-vivo experiments to elucidate its possible use in the treatment of breast cancer. (c) 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health vertical bar Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.