Conformationally Defined Rexinoids and Their Efficacy in the Prevention of Mammary Cancers

(2<i>E</i>,4<i>E</i>,6<i>Z</i>,8<i>Z</i>)-8-(3′,4′-Dihydro-1′(2<i>H</i>)-naphthalen-1′-ylidene)-3,7-dimethyl-2,3,6-octatrienoinic acid (UAB30) is currently undergoing clinical evaluation as a novel cancer prevention agent. In efforts to develop even more highly potent rexinoids that prevent breast cancer without toxicity, we further explore here the structure–activity relationship of two separate classes of rexinoids. UAB30 belongs to the class II rexinoids and possesses a 9<i>Z</i>-tetraenoic acid chain bonded to a tetralone ring, whereas the class I rexinoids contain the same 9<i>Z</i>-tetraenoic acid chain bonded to a disubstituted cyclohexenyl ring. Among the 12 class I and class II rexinoids evaluated, the class I rexinoid <b>11</b> is most effective in preventing breast cancers in an in vivo rat model alone or in combination with tamoxifen. Rexinoid <b>11</b> also reduces the size of established tumors and exhibits a therapeutic effect. However, <b>11</b> induces hypertriglyceridemia at its effective dose. On the other hand rexinoid <b>10</b> does not increase triglyceride levels while being effective in the in vivo chemoprevention assay. X-ray studies of four rexinoids bound to the ligand binding domain of the retinoid X receptor reveal key structural aspects that enhance potency as well as those that enhance the synthesis of lipids.