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Cancer Res. 1999 Nov 15;59(22):5737-44.

Human uterine leiomyomata express higher levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, retinoid X receptor alpha, and all-trans retinoic acid than myometrium.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of South Florida, Tampa 33606, USA.


Uterine leiomyomata are the main indication for a hysterectomy in the United States and occur in 25% of women >35 years. Because uterine leiomyomata can form when ovariectomized guinea pigs are exposed to estradiol and retinoic acids, we tested whether human leiomyomata had high levels of retinoic acids and related nuclear receptors. Compared with normal human myometrium, leiomyomata had 3- to 5-fold higher levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), retinoid X receptor alpha proteins, and all-trans retinoic acid, but only during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. 9-cis Retinoic acid was undetectable in either leiomyomata or myometrium. PPARgamma mRNA levels were lower in leiomyomata than myometrium, but only during the luteal phase of the cycle. A PPARgamma agonist, troglitazone, was given to guinea pigs along with estradiol and all-trans retinoic acid and produced the largest leiomyomata seen to date in this model. By contrast, no tumors formed when troglitazone was given alone or with estradiol or when troglitazone was given with estradiol and 9-cis retinoic acid. New therapies for human leiomyomata may emerge by combining antagonists for PPARgamma and retinoid X receptor alpha with selective estrogen receptor modulators.

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