Lipid-sensors, enigmatic-orphan and orphan nuclear receptors as therapeutic targets in breast-cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Breast-cancer is heterogeneous and consists of various groups with different biological characteristics. Innovative pharmacological approaches accounting for this heterogeneity are needed. The forty eight human Nuclear-Hormone-Receptors are ligand-dependent transcription-factors and are classified into Endocrine-Receptors, Adopted-Orphan-Receptors (Lipid-sensors and Enigmatic-Orphans) and Orphan-receptors. Nuclear-Receptors represent ideal targets for the design/synthesis of pharmacological ligands. We provide an overview of the literature available on the expression and potential role played by Lipid-sensors, Enigmatic-Orphans and Orphan-Receptors in breast-cancer. The data are complemented by an analysis of the expression levels of each selected Nuclear-Receptor in the PAM50 breast-cancer groups, following re-elaboration of the data publicly available. The major aim is to support the idea that some of the Nuclear-Receptors represent largely unexploited therapeutic-targets in breast-cancer treatment/chemo-prevention. On the basis of our analysis, we conclude that the Lipid-Sensors, NR1C3, NR1H2 and NR1H3 are likely to be onco-suppressors in breast-cancer. The Enigmatic-Orphans, NR1F1 NR2A1 and NR3B3 as well as the Orphan-Receptors, NR0B1, NR0B2, NR1D1, NR2F1, NR2F2 and NR4A3 exert a similar action. These Nuclear-Receptors represent candidates for the development of therapeutic strategies aimed at increasing their expression or activating them in tumor cells. The group of Nuclear-Receptors endowed with potential oncogenic properties consists of the Lipid-Sensors, NR1C2 and NR1I2, the Enigmatic-Orphans, NR1F3, NR3B1 and NR5A2, as well as the Orphan-Receptors, NR2E1, NR2E3 and NR6A1. These oncogenic Nuclear-Receptors should be targeted with selective antagonists, reverse-agonists or agents/strategies capable of reducing their expression in breast-cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42661-42682
Number of pages22
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - Jul 5 2016


  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 1, Group F, Member 1
  • Orphan Nuclear Receptors
  • Phylogeny
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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