Rexinoids are ligands which activate retinoid X receptors (RXRs), regulating transcription of genes involved in cancer-relevant processes. Rexinoids have anti-neoplastic activity in multiple preclinical studies. Bexarotene, used to treat cutaneous T cell lymphoma, is the only FDA-approved rexinoid. Bexarotene has also been evaluated in clinical trials for lung and metastatic breast cancer, wherein subsets of patients responded despite advanced disease. By modifying structures of known rexinoids, we can improve potency and toxicity. We previously screened a series of novel rexinoids and selected V-125 as the lead based on performance in optimized in vitro assays. To validate our screening paradigm, we tested V-125 in clinically relevant mouse models of breast and lung cancer. V-125 significantly (p < 0.001) increased time to tumor development in the MMTV-Neu breast cancer model. Treatment of established mammary tumors with V-125 significantly (p < 0.05) increased overall survival. In the A/J lung cancer model, V-125 significantly (p < 0.01) decreased number, size, and burden of lung tumors. Although bexarotene elevated triglycerides and cholesterol in these models, V-125 demonstrated an improved safety profile. These studies provide evidence that our screening paradigm predicts novel rexinoid efficacy and suggest that V-125 could be developed into a new cancer therapeutic.
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