INTRODUCTION: Oxysterols are implicated in various cellular processes. Among their target proteins, liver X receptors (LXRs) α and β modulate the cell cycle in a large range of cancer cell lines. Besides their role as cholesterol sensors, LXRs are also involved in the proliferation/apoptosis balance regulation in various types of cancers.
AREAS COVERED: This review covers oxysterols and derivatives of cholesterol as well as synthetic or natural ligands (agonist/antagonist) of LXRs. Most tumor cell lines are sensitive to LXR activation. Indeed various cancers are concerned such as prostate, breast, glioblastoma, colorectal, and ovary tumors, and leukemia.
EXPERT OPINION: Developing the use of LXR ligands in human health, especially in the field of cancer, represents a novel and promising strategy. Despite a wide spectrum of applications, numerous adverse effects of LXR activation need to be solved before genuine clinical trials in humans. Future directions will be based on the engineering of selective LXRs modulators (SLiMs) as already done for nuclear steroid receptors.
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