Nuclear Receptor Research


Pregnane X Receptor and Cancer: Context-Specificity is Key

Author(s): Satyanarayana R. Pondugula1,2, Petr Pavek3, and Sridhar Mani4

Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is an adopted orphan nuclear receptor that is activated by a wide-range of endobiotics and xenobiotics, including chemotherapy drugs. PXR plays a major role in the metabolism and clearance of xenobiotics and endobiotics in liver and intestine via induction of drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug-transporting proteins. However, PXR is expressed in several cancer tissues and the accumulating evidence strongly points to the differential role of PXR in cancer growth and progression as well as in chemotherapy outcome. In cancer cells, besides regulating the gene expression of enzymes and proteins involved in drug metabolism and transport, PXR also regulates other genes involved in proliferation, metastasis, apoptosis, anti-apoptosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress. In this review, we focus on the differential role of PXR in a variety of cancers, including prostate, breast, ovarian, endometrial, and colon. We also discuss the future directions to further understand the differential role of PXR in cancer, and conclude with the need to identify novel selective PXR modulators to target PXR in PXR-expressing cancers.