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PPAR Res. 2008;2008:309469. doi: 10.1155/2008/309469.

PPARgamma and MEK Interactions in Cancer.

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Department of Medicine II, Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Technical University, 81675 Munich, Germany.


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) exerts multiple functions in determination of cell fate, tissue metabolism, and host immunity. Two synthetic PPARgamma ligands (rosiglitazone and pioglitazone) were approved for the therapy of type-2 diabetes mellitus and are expected to serve as novel cures for inflammatory diseases and cancer. However, PPARgamma and its ligands exhibit a janus-face behaviour as tumor modulators in various systems, resulting in either tumor suppression or tumor promotion. This may be in part due to signaling crosstalk to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades. The genomic activity of PPARgamma is modulated, in addition to ligand binding, by phosphorylation of a serine residue by MAPKs, such as extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases-1/2 (ERK-1/2), or by nucleocytoplasmic compartmentalization through the ERK activators MAPK kinases-1/2 (MEK-1/2). PPARgamma ligands themselves activate the ERK cascade through nongenomic and often PPARgamma-independent signaling. In the current review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms and physiological implications of the crosstalk of PPARgamma with MEK-ERK signaling and its potential as a novel drug target for cancer therapy in patients.

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