Retinoids induce cellular senescence in breast cancer cells by RAR-β dependent and independent pathways: Potential clinical implications (Review)

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Most studies on cellular senescence (CS) have been performed in vitro by employing cytotoxic agents, irradiation, chromatin and telomerase modulators or by activating certain oncogenes. All these approaches usually lead to DNA damage, gene instability and/or chromatin alterations that primarily affect p53-p21 signaling. Little is known on whether retinoids and rexinoids, which are cell differentiation agents, can also induce CS in vitro and in vivo, and which molecular mechanisms are involved in promoting the senescent phenotype. We reviewed the recent publications on CS induced by retinoids and rexinoids in ER+ and ER− breast cancer cell lines and in corresponding animal models of mammary carcinogenesis which simulate those of human breast cancer. The role of retinoic acid receptors β2 and 5 (RARβ2 and RARβ5) and of receptor independent genes involved in mediating the senescence program of retinoids and rexinoids in ER+ and ER− breast cancer cells is discussed. Potential strategists for clinical implication of CS as biomarker of prognosis and of response to treatment with retinoids, rexinoids and with other cell differentiation and antitumor agents are outlined.

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