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Pharmacologic retinoid signaling and physiologic retinoic acid receptor signaling inhibit basal cell carcinoma tumorigenesis.

Author(s): So PL, Fujimoto MA, Epstein EH Jr

Affiliation(s): Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609, USA. pso@chori.org

Publication date & source: 2008-05, Mol Cancer Ther., 7(5):1275-84.

Publication type: Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common human cancer. Patients with basal cell nevus syndrome (Gorlin syndrome) are highly susceptible to developing many BCCs as a result of a constitutive inactivating mutation in one allele of PATCHED 1, which encodes a tumor suppressor that is a major inhibitor of Hedgehog signaling. Dysregulated Hedgehog signaling is a common feature of both hereditary and sporadic BCCs. Recently, we showed remarkable anti-BCC chemopreventive efficacy of tazarotene, a retinoid with retinoic acid receptor (RAR) beta/gamma specificity, in Ptch1+/- mice when treatment was commenced before carcinogenic insults. In this study, we assessed whether the effect of tazarotene against BCC carcinogenesis is sustained after its withdrawal and whether tazarotene is effective against preexisting microscopic BCC lesions. We found that BCCs did not reappear for at least 5 months after topical drug treatment was stopped and that already developed, microscopic BCCs were susceptible to tazarotene inhibition. In vitro, tazarotene inhibited a murine BCC keratinocyte cell line, ASZ001, suggesting that its effect in vivo is by direct action on the actual tumor cells. Down-regulation of Gli1, a target gene of Hedgehog signaling and up-regulation of CRABPII, a target gene of retinoid signaling, were observed with tazarotene treatment. Finally, we investigated the effects of topical applications of other retinoid-related compounds on BCC tumorigenesis in vivo. Tazarotene was the most effective of the preparations studied, and its effect most likely was mediated by RARgamma activation. Furthermore, inhibition of basal RAR signaling in the skin promoted BCC carcinogenesis, suggesting that endogenous RAR signaling restrains BCC growth.

Page last updated: 2008-11-03

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