Fenofibrate, an agonist of PPAR-alpha, in doses above 25 microM, inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in Ishikawa endometrial cancer cells. We show that these effects are potentiated by retinoic acid, an agonist of the retinoid-X-receptor. DNA content analysis shows that G1/S phase progression through the cell cycle is inhibited. Independent Component Analysis of gene microarray experiments demonstrated downregulation of Cyclin D1 (CCND1) and associated changes in cell cycle gene expression. Expression of PPAR-alpha mRNA was reduced by >75% using RNA-interference but this resulted in only minor changes in biological effects. A nude mouse model of endometrial carcinoma was used to investigate the effect of fenofibrate in vivo but failed to show consistent inhibition of tumour growth. The combination of fenofibrate and retinoic acid is a potent inhibitor of Ishikawa endometrial cancer cell growth in vitro.