Optimization of small molecule degraders and antagonists for targeting estrogen receptor based on breast cancer: current status and future
The estrogen receptor (ER) is a classical receptor protein that plays a crucial role in mediating multiple signaling pathways in various target organs. It has been shown that ER-targeting therapies inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation, enhance neuronal protection, and promote osteoclast formation. Several drugs have been designed to specifically target ER in ER-positive (ER+) breast cancer, including selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) such as Tamoxifen. However, the emergence of drug resistance in ER+ breast cancer and the potential side effects on the endometrium which has high ER expression has posed significant challenges in clinical practice. Recently, novel ER-targeted drugs, namely, selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) and selective estrogen receptor covalent antagonist (SERCA) have shown promise in addressing these concerns. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the structural functions of ER and highlights recent advancements in SERD and SERCA-related small molecule drugs, especially focusing on their structural optimization strategies and future optimization directions. Additionally, the therapeutic potential and challenges of novel SERDs and SERCAs in breast cancer and other ER-related diseases have been discussed.
Graphical Abstract Small molecule drugs targeting ER for ER-related disease.