Triterpenoids and rexinoids as multifunctional agents for the prevention and treatment of cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2007 May;7(5):357-69. doi: 10.1038/nrc2129. Epub 2007 Apr 19.


Synthetic oleanane triterpenoids and rexinoids are two new classes of multifunctional drugs. They are neither conventional cytotoxic agents, nor are they monofunctional drugs that uniquely target single steps in signal transduction pathways. Synthetic oleanane triterpenoids have profound effects on inflammation and the redox state of cells and tissues, as well as being potent anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic agents. Rexinoids are ligands for the nuclear receptor transcription factors known as retinoid X receptors. Both classes of agents can prevent and treat cancer in experimental animals. These drugs have unique molecular and cellular mechanisms of action and might prove to be synergistic with standard anti-cancer treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Oleanolic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Oleanolic Acid / chemistry
  • Oleanolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Retinoid X Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • oleanane
  • Oleanolic Acid