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Cancer Lett. 2007 Aug 8;253(1):14-24. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Tumor-suppressive activity of retinoic acid receptor-beta in cancer.

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Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention, Unit 1360, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Retinoids, a group of structural and functional analogs of vitamin A, are known to regulate a large number of essential biological processes and to suppress carcinogenesis. The effects of retinoids are mainly mediated by nuclear retinoid receptors, which include retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Each receptor has three subtypes (alpha, beta, and gamma) and each subtype has different isoforms. Retinoic acid receptor-beta (RAR-beta) has four isoforms that have different affinities to retinoids and different biological functions. Loss of expression of RAR-beta(2) during cancer development is associated with tumorigenesis and retinoid resistance; induction of its expression, on the other hand, can suppress carcinogenesis. Expression of another isoform, RAR-beta(4), is increased in various types of cancer. RAR-beta(4) transgenic mice develop hyperplasia and neoplasia in various tissues, and induction of RAR-beta(4) expression increases the growth of tumor cells that do not express RAR-beta(2). Future studies will focus on molecular pathways involving RAR-beta(2) and the role of RAR-beta(4) in cancer development.

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