The emerging roles of orphan nuclear receptors in prostate cancer.

Orphan nuclear receptors are members of the nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily and are so named because their endogenous physiological ligands are either unknown or may not exist. Because of their important regulatory roles in many key physiological processes, dysregulation of signalings controlled by these receptors is associated with many diseases including cancer. Over years, studies of orphan NRs have become an area of great interest because their specific physiological and pathological roles have not been well-defined, and some of them are promising drug targets for diseases. The recently identified synthetic small molecule ligands, acting as agonists or antagonists, to these orphan NRs not only help to understand better their functional roles but also highlight that the signalings mediated by these ligand-independent NRs in diseases could be therapeutically intervened. This review is a summary of the recent advances in elucidating the emerging functional roles of orphan NRs in cancers, especially prostate cancer. In particular, some orphan NRs, RORγ, TR2, TR4, COUP-IFII, ERRα, DAX1 and SHP, exhibit crosstalk or interference with androgen receptor (AR) signaling in either normal or malignant prostatic cells, highlighting their involvement in prostate cancer progression as androgen and AR signaling pathway play critical roles in this process. We also propose that a better understanding of the mechanism of actions of these orphan NRs in prostate gland or prostate cancer could help to evaluate their potential value as therapeutic targets for prostate cancer.

Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2016 Jun 02 [Epub ahead of print]

Dinglan Wu, Alyson Cheung, Yuliang Wang, Shan Yu, Franky L Chan

School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China., School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China., School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China., School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China. Electronic address: ., School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China. Electronic address: .