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This article is the authors’ final published version in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Volume 22, Issue 14, July 2021, Article number 7731.

The published version is available at Copyright © Hunsu et al.


Retinoic acid (RA) agents possess anti‐tumor activity through their ability to induce cellular differentiation. However, retinoids have not yet been translated into effective systemic treatments for most solid tumors. RA signaling is mediated by the following two nuclear retinoic receptor subtypes: the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) and the retinoic X receptor (RXR), and their isoforms. The identification of mutations in retinoid receptors and other RA signaling pathway genes in human cancers offers opportunities for target discovery, drug design, and personalized medicine for distinct molecular retinoid subtypes. For example, chromosomal translocation involving RARA occurs in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), and all‐trans retinoic acid (ATRA) is a highly effective and even curative therapeutic for APL patients. Thus, retinoid‐based target discovery presents an important line of attack toward designing new, more effective strategies for treating other cancer types. Here, we review retinoid signaling, provide an update on retinoid agents and the current clinical research on retinoids in cancer, and discuss how the retinoid pathway genotype affects the ability of retinoid agents to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. We also deliberate on why retinoid agents have not shown clinical efficacy against solid tumors and discuss alternative strategies that could overcome the lack of efficacy.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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