Retinoic acid nuclear receptor alpha(RAR alpha) plays a major role in retinoid-mediated inhibition of growth in human breast carcinoma cells

Chin Med Sci J. 1996 Sep;11(3):142-6.


Retinoids mediate their actions via retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Each of class of these nuclear retinoid receptor is further subdivided into three species namely alpha, beta and gamma. Recently studies demonstrated that estrogen receptor (ER)-positive human breast cancer (HBC) cell lines are sensitive and ER-negative cell lines are resistant to growth inhibitory effects of retinoic acid (RA). In this study, we found that only RAR alpha mRNA levels was strongly correlated with ER-status. To further investigate the major role of RAR alpha in retinoid-mediated inhibition of growth, we transfected RAR alpha cDNA into two RA-resistant ER-negative HBC cell lines. Analysis of different clonal populations of RAR alpha transfectants from each cell line revealed growth inhibition by retinoids. Our results demonstrated that RAR alpha plays a major role in mediating retinoids inhibition of growth in HBC cells and adequate levels of RAR alpha are required for such an effect.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / genetics
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / physiology*
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transfection
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tretinoin