Abstract 1149: Nuclear receptor 4A1 (NR4A1) antagonists target PD-L1 in colon cancer Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract The nuclear orphan receptor 4A1 (NR4A1, Nur77, TR3) is overexpressed in multiple solid tumors including colorectal tumors and is a negative prognostic factor for patient survival. NR4A1 is expressed in colon cancer cells and exhibit pro-oncogenic activity and results of examination of several colon cancer cell lines show that PD-L1 expression is limited and NR4A1 and PD-L1 are co-expressed in SW480 and RKO colon cancer cell lines. Previous studies in breast cancer cells showed that PD-L1 was regulated by NR4A1 which activates transcription factor Sp1 bound to the PD-L1 gene promoter. Knockdown of NR4A1 or Sp1 by RNA interference or treatment with mithramycin an inhibitor of Sp-mediated transcription decreased expression of PD-L1 in RKO and SW480 colon cancer cell lines. These data coupled with ongoing gene expression and PD-L1 promoter studies demonstrate that PD-L1 expression is regulated by NR4A1/Sp1 in colon cancer cells. Bis-indole derived NR4A1 ligand that act as receptor antagonists have been developed in this laboratory and these compounds block pro-oncogenic NR4A1-regulated genes/pathways. Treatment of RKO and SW480 colon cancer cell lines with a series of potent 1,1-bis(3-indolyl)-1-(3,5-disubstitutedphenyl) analogs decreased expression of PD-L1. These results show that bis-indole derived NR4A1 antagonists act as small molecule mimics of immunotherapeutics that target PD-L1. In vivo applications of NR4A1 ligands that target PD-L1 and their effects on tumor growth and immune surveillance are currently being investigated. Citation Format: Kumaravel Mohankumar, Keshav Karki, Stephen Safe, Maen Abdelrahim. Nuclear receptor 4A1 (NR4A1) antagonists target PD-L1 in colon cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021; 2021 Apr 10-15 and May 17-21. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2021;81(13_Suppl):Abstract nr 1149.

published proceedings

  • Cancer Research

altmetric score

  • 8

author list (cited authors)

  • Mohankumar, K., Karki, K., Safe, S., & Abdelrahim, M.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Mohankumar, Kumaravel||Karki, Keshav||Safe, Stephen||Abdelrahim, Maen

publication date

  • July 2021