Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ) has important physiological functions in control of cell growth, lipid and glucose homeostasis, differentiation and inflammation. To investigate the role of PPARβ/δ in cancer, stable human testicular embryonal carcinoma cell lines were developed that constitutively express PPARβ/δ. Expression of PPARβ/δ caused enhanced activation of the receptor, and this significantly decreased proliferation, migration, invasion, anchorage-independent growth, and also reduced tumor mass and volume of ectopic xenografts derived from NT2/D1 cells compared to controls. The changes observed in xenografts were associated with decreased PPARβ/δ-dependent expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and octamer-binding transcription factor-3/4, suggesting suppressed tumor proliferation and induction of differentiation. Inhibition of migration and invasion was mediated by PPARβ/δ competing with formation of the retinoic acid receptor (RAR)/retinoid X receptor (RXR) complex, resulting in attenuation of RARa-dependent matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression and activity. These results demonstrate that PPARβ/δ mediates attenuation of human testicular embryonal carcinoma cell progression through a novel RAR-dependent mechanism and suggest that activation of PPARβ/δ inhibits RAR/RXR dimerization and represents a new therapeutic strategy.
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