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Free access

Ann M Dorward, Kathryn L Shultz and Wesley G Beamer

The reproductive hormone environment is an important influence upon spontaneous ovarian granulosa cell (GC) tumor development in genetically susceptible (SWR × SWXJ-9) F1 female mice: androgenic support during puberty stimulates tumorigenesis, while exposure to 17β-estradiol (E2) suppresses tumor initiation. We sought to determine whether gonadotropic stimulation was sufficient to initiate GC tumors in a grafted model system, and to determine the potential for dietary isoflavones (genistein and daidzein) as alternatives to E2 for tumor chemoprevention in vivo. Isolated ovaries from pre-pubertal (SWR × SWXJ-9) F1 females were transferred to the kidney capsule of host mice homozygous for the hypogonadal (hpg/hpg) and severe combined immunodeficiency (scid/scid) mutations. CB17; HPG-Prkdc scid Gnrh1 hpg/Bm host mice received either follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), or a functional analog for LH human chorionic gonadotropin for 2 consecutive weeks, at which time the ovary grafts were examined for evidence of tumor initiation. LH analog administration, but not FSH, initiated GC tumorigenesis in the graft system, suggesting that the LH surge at puberty initiates GC tumor development in genetically susceptible female mice. To assess the chemopreventive potential of phytoestrogens, GC tumor frequency was compared between (SWR × SWXJ-9) F1 females reared on an isoflavone-free diet versus a diet supplemented with 125 μg/g each of the isoflavones daidzein and genistein. It was observed that (SWR × SWXJ-9) F1 females reared on isoflavone-supplemented diet maintained significantly higher GC tumor frequency (22%) than females reared on isoflavone-free diet (11%), and that non-tumor-bearing siblings reared on the isoflavones had significantly increased ovarian weight, indicative of an overall stimulation of the reproductive hormone axis. The stimulation of GC tumorigenesis by isoflavones, which contrasts with the chemopreventive action of E2 (2.5 mg/kg) administration during pubertal maturation, may result from general stimulation of ovarian growth, and the inability of the genistein and daidzein supplements to suppress LH secretion.

Free access

Yeon A Choi, Ja Seung Koo, Jeong Su Park, Mi Young Park, Ae Lee Jeong, Ki-Sook Oh and Young Yang

Cancerous inhibitor of PP2A (CIP2A) stimulates the proliferation of various cancer cells, and 17β-estradiol (E2) enhances the proliferation of breast cancer cells. E2 activates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), stimulating the MEK1/2 and PI3K pathways, and CIP2A expression is increased by the MEK1/2-induced transcription factor ETS1. It is possible for E2 to increase CIP2A expression. This study examined whether E2 could increase CIP2A expression and whether CIP2A is highly expressed in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer tissues. E2 increased CIP2A expression at the translational level in a c-MYC-independent manner in MCF-7 cells. E2-enhanced proliferation was impaired without CIP2A expression. E2-stimulated EGFR activated the MAPK and PI3K pathways, which converged to activate p70 S6 kinase (S6K). Phosphorylation at all the three phosphorylation sites (S424/T421, T229, and T389) on S6K was required for the phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 4B (eIF4B), which was responsible for the increase in CIP2A translation. Furthermore, CIP2A expression was higher in ER-positive tissues than in ER-negative tissues. This is the first study, to our knowledge, to demonstrate that CIP2A is a key factor in E2-enhanced proliferation and that estrogen regulates CIP2A expression by non-genomic action through EGFR.

Free access

Daniela Gallo, Elisabetta Mantuano, Manuela Fabrizi, Cristiano Ferlini, Simona Mozzetti, Ilaria De Stefano and Giovanni Scambia

The study reported here was designed to determine whether a phytoestrogen-containing soy extract (SSE) could negate/overwhelm the inhibitory effects of ICI 182 780 on the growth of estrogen-sustained human breast cancer xenografts (MCF-7), in ovariectomized athymic mice. As expected, estradiol-supplemented tumors did not grow over the study period in ICI 182 780-treated females; concomitant administration of 50 mg/kg per day SSE slightly potentiated the inhibitory activity of the drug, while at 100 mg/kg per day, SSE partially negated ICI 182 780 activity. In keeping with these in vivo outcomes, we observed that the level of cyclin D1 (and progesterone receptor) in MCF-7 xenografts was considerably reduced by ICI 182 780, an effect enhanced by concomitant treatment with 50 SSE, but reduced by the higher dosage (i.e. 100 mg/kg per day). Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) and kallikrein 6 (KLK6) levels were also reduced following ICI 182 780, although to a lesser degree; again, combined anti-estrogen and SSE produced a dose-dependent regulation in TSP-1 and KLK6 tumor level, with a further reduction in the mRNA gene expression at 50 SSE (compared with ICI 182 780) and a partial reversion of the drug-induced down-regulation at 100 mg/kg per day. No modulation was detected in the serum concentration of IGF-1 (a potent mitogen for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cell lines) either upon treatment with ICI 182 780 or concomitant administration of the anti-estrogen with SSE. In conclusion, results from this study raise concerns about the consumption of isoflavone supplements in conjunction with ICI 182 780 therapy, in postmenopausal women with estrogen-dependent breast cancer.

Free access

Cameron M Armstrong, Autumn R Billimek, Kimberly F Allred, Joseph M Sturino, Brad R Weeks and Clinton D Allred

Postmenopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) have a reduced risk of developing colon cancer compared with postmenopausal women not on ERT, suggesting a role for estradiol (E2) in protection against this disease. To determine whether E2 protects against inflammation-associated colon cancer when administered following the initiation of colonic DNA damage, in this study, we implanted E2-containing pellets into mice after co-treatment with azoxymethane and two rounds of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS). Wild-type (WT) E2-treated mice had reduced numbers and average area of adenocarcinomas compared with the control mice. These effects were lost in estrogen receptor-β (Er β (Esr2)) knockout mice. Surprisingly, apoptosis was reduced and cell proliferation was increased in sections from tumors of the WT E2 mice compared with the WT control mice. These findings are probably due, in part, to a reduction in ERβ expression in colonic epithelial cells as the cells progressed from a non-malignant to a cancerous state as enhanced apoptosis was observed in normal colonocytes expressing higher levels of ERβ. Furthermore, epithelial cells within the tumors had dramatically increased ERα mRNA and protein expression compared with the non-diseased mice. We conclude that while E2 treatment resulted in an overall suppression of colonic adenocarcinoma formation, reduced ERβ expression accompanied by enhanced ERα expression caused an altered colonocyte response to E2 treatment compared with the earlier stages of colon cancer development. These data are the first examples of decreased ERβ expression concurrent with increased ERα expression as a disease develops and highlight the importance of understanding the timing of E2 exposure with regard to the prevention of inflammation-associated colon cancer.

Open access

Milena Rondón-Lagos, Nelson Rangel, Ludovica Verdun Di Cantogno, Laura Annaratone, Isabella Castellano, Rosalia Russo, Tilde Manetta, Caterina Marchiò and Anna Sapino

Evidence supports a role of 17&-estradiol (E2) in carcinogenesis and the large majority of breast carcinomas are dependent on estrogen. The anti-estrogen tamoxifen (TAM) is widely used for both treatment and prevention of breast cancer; however, it is also carcinogenic in human uterus and rat liver, highlighting the profound complexity of its actions. The nature of E2- or TAM-induced chromosomal damage has been explored using relatively high concentrations of these agents, and only some numerical aberrations and chromosomal breaks have been analyzed. This study aimed to determine the effects of low doses of E2 and TAM (10&8 mol L&1 and 10&6 mol L&1 respectively) on karyotypes of MCF7, T47D, BT474, and SKBR3 breast cancer cells by comparing the results of conventional karyotyping and multi-FISH painting with cell proliferation. Estrogen receptor (ER)-positive (+) cells showed an increase in cell proliferation after E2 treatment (MCF7, T47D, and BT474) and a decrease after TAM treatment (MCF7 and T47D), whereas in ER& cells (SKBR3), no alterations in cell proliferation were observed, except for a small increase at 96 h. Karyotypes of both ER+ and ER& breast cancer cells increased in complexity after treatments with E2 and TAM leading to specific chromosomal abnormalities, some of which were consistent throughout the treatment duration. This genotoxic effect was higher in HER2+ cells. The ER&/HER2+ SKBR3 cells were found to be sensitive to TAM, exhibiting an increase in chromosomal aberrations. These in vitro results provide insights into the potential role of low doses of E2 and TAM in inducing chromosomal rearrangements in breast cancer cells.

Free access

Susan M Dougherty, Williard Mazhawidza, Aimee R Bohn, Krista A Robinson, Kathleen A Mattingly, Kristy A Blankenship, Mary O Huff, William G McGregor and Carolyn M Klinge

The higher frequency of lung adenocarcinoma in women smokers than in men smokers suggests a role for gender-dependent factors in the etiology of lung cancer. We evaluated estrogen receptor (ER) α and β expression and activity in human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines and normal lung fibroblasts. Full-length ERα and ERβ proteins were expressed in all cell lines with higher ERβ than ERα. Although estradiol (E2) binding was similar, E2 stimulated proliferation only in cells from females, and this response was inhibited by anti-estrogens 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT) and ICI 182,780. In contrast, E2 did not stimulate replication of lung adenocarcinoma cells from males and 4-OHT or ICI did not block cell proliferation. Similarly, transcription of an estrogen response element-driven reporter gene was stimulated by E2 in lung adenocarcinoma cells from females, but not males. Progesterone receptor (PR) expression was increased by E2 in two out of five adenocarcinoma cell lines from females, but none from males. E2 decreased E-cadherin protein expression in some of the cell lines from females, as it did in MCF-7 breast cancer cells, but not in the cell lines from males. Thus, ERα and ERβ expression does not correlate with the effect of ER ligands on cellular activities in lung adenocarcinoma cells. On the other hand, coactivator DRIP205 expression was higher in lung adenocarcinoma cells from females versus males and higher in adenocarcinoma cells than in normal human bronchial epithelial cells. DRIP205 and other ER coregulators may contribute to differences in estrogen responsiveness between lung adenocarcinoma cells in females and males.

Free access

Susanna Vuorenoja, Bidut Prava Mohanty, Johanna Arola, Ilpo Huhtaniemi, Jorma Toppari and Nafis A Rahman

Lytic peptide Hecate (23-amino acid (AA)) fused with a 15-AA fragment of human chorionic gonadotropin-β (CG-β), Hecate-CGβ conjugate (H-CGβ-c) selectively binds to and destroys tumor cells expressing LH/chorionic gonadotropin receptor (Lhcgr). Transgenic mice (6.5 month old) expressing SV40 T-antigen under the inhibin-α promoter (inhα/Tag) presenting with Lhcgr expressing adrenal tumors were treated either with H-CGβ-c, GnRH antagonist (GnRH-a), estradiol (E2; only females) or their combinations for 1 month. We expected that GnRH-a or E2 in combination with H-CGβ-c could improve the treatment efficacy especially in females by decreasing circulating LH and eliminating the potential competition of serum LH with the H-CGβ-c. GnRH-a and H-CGβ-c treatments were successful in males (adrenal weights 14±2.8 mg and 60±26 vs 237±59 mg in controls; P<0.05). Histopathologically, GnRH-a apparently destroyed the adrenal parenchyma leaving only the fibrotic capsule with few necrotic foci. In females, H-CGβ-c was totally ineffective, whereas GnRH-a (19±5 mg) or E2 (77±50 mg) significantly reduced the adrenal weights compared with controls (330±70 mg). Adrenal morphometry, cell proliferation markers, post-treatment suppression of serum progesterone, and quantitative RT-PCR of GATA-4, Lhcgr, and GATA-6 further supported the positive outcome. H-CGβ-c selectively killed the Lhcgr expressing tumor cells, whereas GnRH-a blocked tumor progression through gonadotropin suppression, emphasizing the gonadotropin dependency of these adrenocortical tumors. If extrapolated to humans, H-CGβ-c could be considered for the treatment of gonadotropin-dependent adrenal tumors in males, whereas in females gonadotropin suppression, but not H-CGβ-c, would work better.

Free access

Paola Galluzzo, Francesco Caiazza, Sandra Moreno and Maria Marino

The cellular functions regulated by 17β-estradiol (E2) start after the hormone binds to its receptors (i.e., ERα and ERβ ). These act as ligand-dependent transcription factor transactivating target genes. In addition, E2 induces non-genomic actions, whose activation is triggered by a fraction of the ERs localized at the plasma membrane. Palmitoylation allows ERα to localize at the plasma membrane, to associate with caveolin-1, and, upon E2 stimulation, to activate rapid signals relevant for cell proliferation. The existence of a mechanism, which allows ERβ localization at the plasma membrane and its putative role in anti-proliferative E2 effects is completely unknown. Here, the susceptibility of ERβ to undergo palmitoylation and the role played by this process has been analyzed in DLD-1 containing endogenous ERβ or in HeLa cells transiently transfected with ERβ or ERα expression vectors. As for ERα , palmitoylation is necessary for ERβ localization at the plasma membrane and its association with caveolin-1 but, in contrast to ERα , the E2 binding increases ERβ association with caveolin-1 and the p38 member of MAPK family. Moreover, the palmitoyl acyl transferase (PAT) inhibitor blocks the ability of ERβ –E2 complex to activate p38 impairing the receptor-dependent activation of downstream proapoptotic cascade (i.e., caspase-3 activation and poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP) cleavage). Consequently, palmitoylation must be considered to be a molecular device for ERβ , which allows these receptors to interact with the plasma membrane and to regulate E2-induced non-genomic functions relevant to the anti-proliferative effect of this hormone.

Free access

Hiroyasu Kashima, Tanri Shiozawa, Tsutomu Miyamoto, Akihisa Suzuki, Junko Uchikawa, Miyuki Kurai and Ikuo Konishi

To examine estrogen-induced growth mechanisms of endometrial carcinoma, we investigated the estrogen-induced activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and cell cycle regulators. Estradiol (E2) treatment at concentrations of 10−8 M and 10−6 M to estrogen receptor (ER)-positive endometrial carcinoma Ishikawa cells for 24 h resulted in increased cell proliferation by 20% and 28% respectively. The E2-induced proliferation was associated with the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK)3/1 and up-regulation of cyclin D1 and E, which were suppressed by the addition of an MAP2K inhibitor (U0126) or an ER antagonist (ICI 182 780). Then, our screening for estrogen-inducible growth factors identified that IGF1 was up-regulated remarkably by E2. Immunoprecipitation using conditioned medium of Ishikawa cells after E2 treatment confirmed the E2-induced secretion of IGF1 protein. Treatment with recombinant IGF1 stimulated cell proliferation in a dose-dependent fashion, in association with MAPK3/1 phosphorylation and up-regulation of cyclin D1 and E. These IGF1-induced responses were suppressed by treatment with MAP2K inhibitor or anti-IGF1 receptor antibody. Immunohistochemical staining confirmed the expression of activated MAPK3/1 in normal proliferative phase endometria and endometrial carcinomas, indicating the involvement of this pathway in actively proliferating endometrial tissues in vivo. These findings suggest that E2-induced proliferation of endometrial carcinoma cells is mediated by the MAPK3/1 pathway via autocrine stimulation of IGF1.

Free access

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.