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Cancer Res. 2003 Jul 1;63(13):3531-8.

Regulation of retinoic acid receptor beta expression by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma ligands in cancer cells.

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  • 1Cancer Center, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR gamma) is a nuclear receptor family member that can form a heterodimeric complex with retinoid X receptor (RXR) and initiate transcription of target genes. In this study, we have examined the effects of the PPAR gamma ligand ciglitazone and the RXR ligand SR11237 on growth and induction of retinoic acid receptor (RAR) beta expression in breast and lung cancer cells. Our results demonstrated that ciglitazone and SR11237 cooperatively inhibited the growth of ZR-75-1 and T-47D breast cancer and Calu-6 lung cancer cells. Gel shift analysis indicated that PPAR gamma, in the presence of RXR, formed a strong complex with a retinoic acid response element (beta retinoic acid response element) in the RAR beta promoter. In reporter gene assays, RXR ligands and ciglitazone, but not the PPAR gamma ligand 15d-PGJ(2), cooperatively promoted the transcriptional activity of the beta retinoic acid response element. Ciglitazone, but not 15d-PGJ(2), strongly induced RAR beta expression in human breast and lung cancer cell lines when used together with SR11237. The induction of RAR beta expression by the ciglitazone and SR11237 combination was diminished by a PPAR gamma-selective antagonist, bisphenol A diglycidyl ether. All-trans-retinoic acid or the combination of ciglitazone and SR11237 was able to induce RAR beta in all-trans-retinoic acid-resistant MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells only when the orphan receptor chick ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor was expressed, or in the presence of the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. These studies indicate the existence of a novel RAR beta-mediated signaling pathway of PPAR gamma action, which may provide a molecular basis for developing novel therapies involving RXR and PPAR gamma ligands in potentiating antitumor responses.

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