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Head and neck cancer; esophageal cancer

Retinoid X receptor (RXR); retinoic acid receptor-g (RARG)

In vitro and mouse studies suggest combining RXR and RARG agonists could help prevent oral and esophageal squamous cell carcinomas. In a mouse model of oral carcinogenesis, an RARG agonist plus the RXR agonist Targretin bexarotene decreased the number of malignant lesions and their severity compared with the RARG agonist alone or no treatment. The agonists also decreased markers of cancer and oxidative stress compared with no treatment. Next steps could include evaluating the combination strategy in additional cancer models.
Eisai Co. Ltd. markets Targretin to treat cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTL).
Kowa Co. Ltd. has the oral RARG and RXR agonist peretinoin in Phase III testing to treat liver cancer.
Io Therapeutics Inc. has the RXR agonist IRX4204 in Phase II or earlier testing to treat various cancers.
Roche and Clementia Pharmaceuticals Inc. have the RARG agonist palovarotene in Phase II testing to treat musculoskeletal indications.

SciBX 7(25); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.734
Published online June 26, 2014

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Tang, X.-H. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online June 3, 2014;
Contact: Lorraine J. Gudas, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, N.Y.