© 2016 The Author(s). Background: The liver X receptors (LXRs, NR1H2 and NR1H3) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG, NR1C3) nuclear receptor transcription factors (TFs) are master regulators of energy homeostasis. Intriguingly, recent studies suggest that these metabolic regulators also impact tumor cell proliferation. However, a comprehensive temporal molecular characterization of the LXR and PPARG gene regulatory responses in tumor cells is still lacking. Methods: To better define the underlying molecular processes governing the genetic control of cellular growth in response to extracellular metabolic signals, we performed a comprehensive, genome-wide characterization of the temporal regulatory cascades mediated by LXR and PPARG signaling in HT29 colorectal cancer cells. For this analysis, we applied a multi-tiered approach that incorporated cellular phenotypic assays, gene expression profiles, chromatin state dynamics, and nuclear receptor binding patterns. Results: Our results illustrate that the activation of both nuclear receptors inhibited cell proliferation and further decreased glutathione levels, consistent with increased cellular oxidative stress. Despite a common metabolic reprogramming, the gene regulatory network programs initiated by these nuclear receptors were widely distinct. PPARG generated a rapid and short-term response while maintaining a gene activator role. By contrast, LXR signaling was prolonged, with initial, predominantly activating functions that transitioned to repressive gene regulatory activities at late time points. Conclusions: Through the use of a multi-tiered strategy that integrated various genomic datasets, our data illustrate that distinct gene regulatory programs elicit common phenotypic effects, highlighting the complexity of the genome. These results further provide a detailed molecular map of metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells through LXR and PPARG activation. As ligand-inducible TFs, these nuclear receptors can potentially serve as attractive therapeutic targets for the treatment of various cancers.