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PPAR Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 242498, 9 pages
Review Article

The Role of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors in the Esophageal, Gastric, and Colorectal Cancer

Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Sannio, 82100 Benevento, Italy

Received 8 June 2012; Accepted 24 July 2012

Academic Editor: Gianluigi Mazzoccoli

Copyright © 2012 Alessandra Fucci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tumors of the gastrointestinal tract are among the most frequent human malignancies and account for approximately 30% of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are ligand-activated transcription factors that control diverse cellular functions such as proliferation, differentiation, and cell death. Owing to their involvement in so many processes, they play crucial roles also in the development and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract. Consistently, PPARs deregulation has been implicated in several pathophysiological conditions, including chronic inflammation and cancer development. This paper summarizes the current knowledge on the role that the various PPAR isoforms play in the pathogenesis of the esophageal, gastric, and intestinal cancer. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying PPARs' signaling pathways will provide insights into their possible use as predictive biomarkers in the initial stages of the process. In addition, this understanding will provide the basis for new molecular targets in cancer therapy and chemoprevention.