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Jian Teng, Zun-Yi Wang, David F Jarrard, and Dale E Bjorling

We reported previously that both subtypes of estrogen receptors, ERα and ERβ, are expressed by human urothelial cells and mediate estrogen-induced cell proliferation in these cells. The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which each ER subtype contributes to urothelial cell proliferation and their possible involvement in the regulation of the cell cycle. We compared the expression of ERα and ERβ mRNAs and protein quantitatively in primarily cultured human bladder urothelial cells obtained from six individuals with three immortalized urothelial (E6, E7, and UROtsa) and two bladder cancer cell lines (HTB-9 and T24). We found that all these cells express similar levels of ERβ, but immortalized and cancer cells express much higher amounts of ERα than primary cells. Higher levels of ERα mRNA were also observed in the biopsies of bladder transitional cell carcinoma compared with sample from the same bladder unaffected by tumor. Using the ERα-selective agonist PPT, the ERβ-selective agonist DPN, and specific small interfering RNA against ERα or ERβ, we found that ERβ predominantly mediates estrogen-induced G1/S transition and cell proliferation in the primary urothelial cells. By contrast, ERα predominantly mediates estrogen-induced G1/S transition and cell proliferation in bladder cancer cell lines. Furthermore, we found that 17β-estradiol (E2) rapidly induces phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases, but U0126, a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor, does not affect E2-induced urothelial cell proliferation. E2 up-regulated cyclin D1 and cyclin E expression in both the primary and bladder cancer cells, and the cancer cells have higher cyclin D1 and cyclin E expression during G0/G1 phases. Our data suggest that estrogen exerts its effects through different ER subtypes in urothelial cells. Increased expression of ERα may contribute to early induction of cyclin D1 and cyclin E during the cell cycle in bladder cancer cells.

Free access

P This, A De La Rochefordière, K Clough, A Fourquet, H Magdelenat, and Breast Cancer Group of the Institut Curie

The current extension of the indications for adjuvant chemotherapy, which predisposes to early menopause, and the media coverage of the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have led patients with a history of breast cancer to seek treatments for estrogen deprivation. In breast cancer survivors, most physicians avoid HRT because of concern regarding the potential promotion of growth of occult malignant cells by estrogens, due to the estrogen dependence of breast cancer. Soy phytoestrogens are being promoted as the 'natural alternative' to HRT and have been available without restrictions for several years as nutritional supplements. In this paper, data on the complex mammary effects of phytoestrogens in epidemiological studies, in in vitro studies, as well as in in vivo studies on animal carcinogenesis are reviewed. The potential benefits and risks of phytoestrogens are analyzed, and the prescription of phytoestrogens to postmenopausal women after breast cancer and the coprescription with the anti-estrogen tamoxifen are discussed. The absence of controlled trials and technical checking of extraction and titration in these preparations on 'free sale' raise a new problem in terms of public health and justify close reasoning and a cautious attitude of physicians, as well as straight information given to women, especially after breast cancer.

Free access

M Fuertes, M Sapochnik, L Tedesco, S Senin, A Attorresi, P Ajler, G Carrizo, A Cervio, G Sevlever, J J Bonfiglio, G K Stalla, and E Arzt

Increased levels of the proto-oncogene pituitary tumor-transforming gene 1 (PTTG) have been repeatedly reported in several human solid tumors, especially in endocrine-related tumors such as pituitary adenomas. Securin PTTG has a critical role in pituitary tumorigenesis. However, the cause of upregulation has not been found yet, despite analyses made at the gene, promoter and mRNA level that show that no mutations, epigenetic modifications or other mechanisms that deregulate its expression may explain its overexpression and action as an oncogene. We describe that high PTTG protein levels are induced by the RWD-containing sumoylation enhancer (RWDD3 or RSUME), a protein originally identified in the same pituitary tumor cell line in which PTTG was also cloned. We demonstrate that PTTG and RSUME have a positive expression correlation in human pituitary adenomas. RSUME increases PTTG protein in pituitary tumor cell lines, prolongs the half-life of PTTG protein and regulates the PTTG induction by estradiol. As a consequence, RSUME enhances PTTG transcription factor and securin activities. PTTG hyperactivity on the cell cycle resulted in recurrent and unequal divisions without cytokinesis, and the consequential appearance of aneuploidies and multinucleated cells in the tumor. RSUME knockdown diminishes securin PTTG and reduces its tumorigenic potential in a xenograft mouse model. Taken together, our findings show that PTTG high protein steady state levels account for PTTG tumor abundance and demonstrate a critical role of RSUME in this process in pituitary tumor cells.

Free access

A Bottini, A Berruti, M P Brizzi, A Bersiga, D Generali, G Allevi, S Aguggini, G Bolsi, S Bonardi, B Tondelli, F Vana, M Tampellini, P Alquati, and L Dogliotti

This study was designed to address whether simultaneous primary chemo-hormonal therapy provides additional activity compared with chemotherapy alone in breast cancer patients with operable or locally advanced disease. Between January 1997 and January 2002, 211 consecutive patients with T2–4, N0–1, M0 breast cancer were randomized to receive either epirubicin alone (EPI) or epirubicin plus tamoxifen (EPI-TAM). Ki67 expression was evaluated immunohistochemically in tumor specimens obtained before chemotherapy by incision biopsy and at definitive surgery. Tumor shrinkage of >50% was obtained in 76% of patients randomized in the EPI arm and 81.9% of patients randomized in the EPI-TAM arm (not significant). The corresponding rates of clinical and pathological complete response were 20.2 and 21.9% (not significant), and 4.8 and 6.7% (not significant), respectively. Pathologically complete response was more frequently observed in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative (ER−) tumors (P=0.04) and correlated with elevated baseline Ki67 expression (P<0.01). Both EPI and EPI-TAM treatments resulted in a significant reduction in Ki67 expression, either in overall patients (P=0.000) or in patients with ER+ breast cancer (P=0.000). The reduction in Ki67 immunostaining in the EPI-TAM arm was greater than in the EPI arm, leading to a lower Ki67 expression at post-operative residual histology (P=0.0041). The addition of tamoxifen to epirubicin chemotherapy did not improve the response rate but led to a significantly higher reduction in the Ki67 expression. Baseline elevated Ki67 expression and the ER− status were both associated with a greater chance of obtaining a pathological complete response at residual histology.

Free access

Maya Dadiani, Dalia Seger, Tamar Kreizman, Daria Badikhi, Raanan Margalit, Raya Eilam, and Hadassa Degani

The role of c-Myc in estrogen regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and of the vasculature function has been investigated in breast cancer cells and tumors. The studies were performed on MCF7 wild-type cells and MCF7-35im clone, stably transfected with an inducible c-Myc gene. In vitro and ex vivo methods for investigating molecular events were integrated with in vivo magnetic resonance imaging of the vascular function. The results showed that the c-Myc upregulation by estrogen is necessary for the transient induction of VEGF transcription; however, overexpression of c-Myc alone is not sufficient for this induction. Furthermore, both c-Myc and the activated estrogen receptor α (ERα) were shown to co-bind the VEGF promoter in close proximity, indicating a novel mechanism for estrogen regulation of VEGF. Studies of long-term estrogen treatment and overexpression of c-Myc alone demonstrated regulation of stable VEGF expression levels in vitro and in vivo, maintaining steady vascular permeability in tumors. However, withdrawal of estrogen from the tumors resulted in increased VEGF and elevated vascular permeability, presumably due to hypoxic conditions that were found to dominate VEGF overexpression in cultured cells. This work revealed a cooperative role for ERα and c-Myc in estrogen regulation of VEGF and the ability of c-Myc to partially mimic estrogen regulation of angiogenesis. It also illuminated the differences in estrogen regulation of VEGF during transient and long-term sustained treatments and under different microenvironmental conditions, providing a complementary picture of the in vitro and in vivo results.

Free access

Nikki A Ford, Nomeli P Nunez, Valerie B Holcomb, and Stephen D Hursting

Luminal breast tumors with little or no estrogen receptor α expression confer poor prognosis. Using the Met1 murine model of luminal breast cancer, we characterized the IGF1-dependency of diet-induced obesity (DIO) and calorie restriction (CR) effects on tumor growth, growth factor signaling, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and chemokine expression. Liver-specific IGF1-deficient (LID) and littermate control (LC) mice were administered control, DIO, or 30% CR diets for 3 months before orthotopic injection of Met1 cells. Tumors grew for 1 month and then were assessed for Akt pathway activation and mRNA expression of chemokine and EMT constituents. LID mice, regardless of diet, displayed reduced Met1 tumor growth and downregulated Akt, EMT, and chemokine pathways. CR, relative to control, reduced serum IGF1 and Met1 tumor growth in LC (but not LID) mice. DIO, relative to control, increased Met1 tumor growth and chemokine expression in LID mice, and had no effect on serum IGF1 or pAkt or cyclin D1 expression in either genotype. Thus, circulating IGF1 (in association with Akt, EMT, and chemokines) regulated Met1 tumor growth. While the anticancer effects of CR were largely IGF1-dependent, the procancer effects of DIO manifested only when circulating IGF1 levels were low. Thus, in a murine model of luminal breast cancer, IGF1 and its downstream signaling pathway, EMT, and chemokines present possible mechanistic regulatory targets. Transplanted MMTV1 Wnt1 mammary tumor growth was also reduced in LID mice, relative to LC mice, suggesting that the IGF1 effects on mammary tumor growth are not limited to Met1 tumors.

Free access

Etienne Leygue and Leigh C Murphy

Despite over 15 years of research, the exact role, if any, played by estrogen receptor β (ERβ) in human breast cancer remains elusive. A large body of data both in vitro and in vivo supports its role as an antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic factor especially when co-expressed with ERα. However, there is a smaller body of data associating ERβ with growth and survival in breast cancer. In clinical studies and most often in cell culture studies, the pro-growth and pro-survival activity of ERβ occurs in ERα-negative breast cancer tissue and cells. This bi-faceted role of ERβ is discussed in this review.

Free access

Daniele Generali, Stephen B Fox, Alfredo Berruti, Maria P Brizzi, Leticia Campo, Simone Bonardi, Simon M Wigfield, Paolo Bruzzi, Alessandra Bersiga, Giovanni Allevi, Manuela Milani, Sergio Aguggini, Luigi Dogliotti, Alberto Bottini, and Adrian L Harris

The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) expression in predicting the response to epirubicin and disease-free survival (DFS) in breast cancer patients enrolled in a single institution trial of primary anthracycline and tamoxifen therapy. CAIX expression was assessed in 183 patients with T2–4 N0–1 breast cancer enrolled in a randomized trial comparing four cycles of single agent epirubicin versus epirubicin + tamoxifen as primary systemic treatment. All patients received postoperatively four cycles of the four weekly i.v. cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil regimen. Patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive primary tumors received 5 years of adjuvant tamoxifen. Pretreatment, p53 (P = 0.007), c-erbB2 (P < 0.01), and Ki67 (P = 0.02) were directly associated with CAIX expression, while bcl2 (P < 0.000) and ER (P = 0.000) and progesterone receptor (PgR; P < 0.01) were inversely correlated. In multivariate analysis, only high p53 and low bcl2 were independently associated with CAIX positivity. CAIX immunostaining was significantly associated with poor outcome for DFS (P < 0.002) and overall survival (P = 0.001). In multivariate analysis, a significant interaction was found between CAIX and markers of hormone sensitivity, bcl2 (P = 0.01), ER (P = 0.02), PgR (P = 0.02), and lymph node involvement (P = 0.04), in predicting DFS. Presently, there are few clinical markers of resistance to tamoxifen treatment in ER-positive tumors. CAIX expression in breast cancer patients shows a negative predictive role of treatment efficacy in ER-positive patients on the adjuvant tamoxifen after primary chemo-endocrine therapy. Studies investigating the effects of pH on tamoxifen uptake and the effects of therapy with CA inhibitors are planned.

Restricted access

H Leon Bradlow and Nitin T Telang

Sir, We wish to respond to the above article by Safe and McDougal (1997). This paper discusses the role of xenoestrogens in mammary carcinogenesis and suggests that modulation of estradiol metabolism is not a predictive assay. The evidence presented ignores our published work that is relevant to the role of estradiol metabolism in mammary carcinogenesis, and, therefore, fails to provide a balanced discussion. The following are our specific comments. These issues raise serious concerns which the authors failed to address in this review and which would lead to confusion in readers. The effect of chemical carcinogens on MCF-7 cells The discussion with regard to altered estradiol metabolism in response to treatment with chemical carcinogens fosters confusion for the following reasons. The data presented takes into account only 2-hydroxylation and not the competing 16α-hydroxylation pathway. The cellular response to chemical carcinogens may differ in non-cancerous and fully transformed tumor-derived cells. Our
Open access

Yuet-Kin Leung, Vinothini Govindarajah, Ana Cheong, Jennifer Veevers, Dan Song, Robin Gear, Xuegong Zhu, Jun Ying, Ady Kendler, Mario Medvedovic, Scott Belcher, and Shuk-Mei Ho

In utero exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) increases mammary cancer susceptibility in offspring. High-fat diet is widely believed to be a risk factor of breast cancer. The objective of this study was to determine whether maternal exposure to BPA in addition to high-butterfat (HBF) intake during pregnancy further influences carcinogen-induced mammary cancer risk in offspring, and its dose–response curve. In this study, we found that gestational HBF intake in addition to a low-dose BPA (25 µg/kg BW/day) exposure increased mammary tumor incidence in a 50-day-of-age chemical carcinogen administration model and altered mammary gland morphology in offspring in a non-monotonic manner, while shortening tumor-free survival time compared with the HBF-alone group. In utero HBF and BPA exposure elicited differential effects at the gene level in PND21 mammary glands through DNA methylation, compared with HBF intake in the absence of BPA. Top HBF + BPA-dysregulated genes (ALDH1B1, ASTL, CA7, CPLX4, KCNV2, MAGEE2 and TUBA3E) are associated with poor overall survival in The Cancer Genomic Atlas (TCGA) human breast cancer cohort (n = 1082). Furthermore, the prognostic power of the identified genes was further enhanced in the survival analysis of Caucasian patients with estrogen receptor-positive tumors. In conclusion, concurrent HBF dietary and a low-dose BPA exposure during pregnancy increases mammary tumor incidence in offspring, accompanied by alterations in mammary gland development and gene expression, and possibly through epigenetic reprogramming.