Author(s): Bardin A, Boulle N, Lazennec G, Vignon F, Pujol P
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Abstract The characterization of estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) brought new insight into the mechanisms underlying estrogen signaling. Estrogen induction of cell proliferation is a crucial step in carcinogenesis of gynecologic target tissues, and the mitogenic effects of estrogen in these tissues (such as breast, endometrium and ovary) are well documented both in vitro and in vivo. There is also an emerging body of evidence that colon and prostate cancer growth is influenced by estrogens. In all of these tissues, most studies have shown decreased ERbeta expression in cancer as compared with benign tumors or normal tissues, whereas ERalpha expression persists. The loss of ERbeta expression in cancer cells could reflect tumor cell dedifferentiation but may also represent a critical stage in estrogen-dependent tumor progression. Modulation of the expression of ERalpha target genes by ERbeta or ERbeta-specific gene induction could explain that ERbeta has a differential effect on proliferation as compared with ERalpha. ERbeta may exert a protective effect and thus constitute a new target for hormone therapy, such as ligand specific activation. The potential distinct roles of ERalpha and ERbeta expression in carcinogenesis, as suggested by experimental and clinical data, are discussed in this review.
This article was published in Endocr Relat Cancer
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy