Potential of retinoic acid derivatives for the treatment of corticotroph pituitary adenomas

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Abstract

Cushing's disease is a severe clinical condition caused by hypersecretion of corticosteroids due to excessive ACTH secretion from a pituitary adenoma. This complex endocrine disorder still represents a major challenge for the physician in terms of efficient treatment. In the last years there was only little progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms responsible for the constitutive and autonomous ACTH secretion of pituitary corticotrophinomas. As a consequence, no effective drug therapy is currently available, particularly if surgical excision is not successful. In the present article we examine recent studies that have investigated the therapeutic potential of retinoic acid receptors as nuclear receptor targets for the treatment of Cushing's disease. Retinoic acid is an efficient drug used for the treatment of different types of cancers and it proved to act in animal models of Cushing's disease. The efficiency of this treatment in patients with this disorder still needs to be tested in clinical trials.

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