The process of self-renewal in normal intestinal epithelium is characterized by a fine balance between proliferation, differentiation, migration, and cell death. When even one of these aspects escapes the normal control, cellular proliferation and differentiation are impaired, with con-sequent onset of tumorigenesis. In humans, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the main pathological manifestation of this derangement. Nowadays, CRC is the world’s fourth most deadly cancer with a limited survival after treatment. Several conditions can predispose to CRC development, including dietary habits and pre-existing inflammatory bowel diseases. Given their extraordinary ability to interact with DNA, it is widely known that nuclear receptors play a key role in the regulation of intestinal epithelium, orchestrating the expression of a series of genes involved in developmental and homeostatic pathways. In particular, the nuclear receptor Liver Receptor Homolog-1 (LRH-1), highly expressed in the stem cells localized in the crypts, promotes intestine cell proliferation and renewal in both direct and indirect DNA-binding manner. Furthermore, LRH-1 is extensively correlated with diverse intestinal inflammatory pathways. These evidence shed a light in the dynamic intestinal microenvironment in which increased regenerative epithelial cell turnover, mutagenic insults, and chronic DNA damages triggered by factors within an inflammatory cell-rich microenvironment act synergistically to favor cancer onset and progression.
- Colorectal cancer (CRC)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Intestinal stem cells (ISC)
- Liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1)
- Nuclear receptors (NR)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research