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Synthetic Retinoids Beyond Cancer Therapy

Lorraine J. Gudas
Published: 13 September 2021

Abstract: While the uses of retinoids for cancer treatment continue to evolve, this review focuses on other therapeutic areas in which retinoids [retinol (vitamin A), all- trans retinoic acid (RA), and synthetic retinoic acid receptor (RAR)α-, β-, and γ-selective agonists] are being used and on promising new research that suggests additional uses for retinoids for the treatment of disorders of the kidneys, skeletal muscles, heart, pancreas, liver, nervous system, skin, and other organs. The most mature area, in terms of US Food and Drug Administration–approved, RAR-selective agonists, is for treatment of various skin diseases. Synthetic retinoid agonists have major advantages over endogenous RAR agonists such as RA. Because they act through a specific RAR, side effects may be minimized, and synthetic retinoids often have better pharmaceutical properties than does RA. Based on our increasing knowledge of the multiple roles of retinoids in development, epigenetic regulation, and tissue repair, other exciting therapeutic areas are emerging. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Volume 62 is January 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
Keywords: treatment / synthetic retinoids / epigenetic / therapeutic areas / retinoic / RAR / agonists / cancer

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