Quantitative profiles of the mRNAs of ER-alpha and its novel variant ER-alpha36 in breast cancers and matched normal tissues

Yi Zheng, Jing Zhang, Zhen-zhen Xu, Jian-ming Sheng, Xiao-chen Zhang, Hao-hao Wang, Xiao-dong Teng, Xiao-jiao Liu, Jiang Cao, Li-song Teng
Journal of Zhejiang University. Science. B 2010, 11 (2): 144-50

OBJECTIVE: The novel estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-alpha) variant ER-alpha36 is reported to be functional in the estrogen signaling pathway and is related to tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer. However, ER-alpha36 tends to be a favorable factor for survival in patients without tamoxifen therapy. To investigate the mechanisms behind this paradox, we determined the differences between the transcriptional profiles of ER-alpha36 and full-length ER-alpha (ER-alpha66) in breast cancers and matched normal tissues.

METHODS: We analyzed ER-alpha36 and ER-alpha66 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in 74 pairs of breast cancers and matched normal tissues using a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, and correlated the results with their clinicopathological characteristics.

RESULTS: Breast cancers expressed lower ER-alpha36 mRNA levels than matched normal tissues regardless of their ER-alpha66 expression status. Down-regulation of ER-alpha36 mRNA was correlated with local progression, lymph node metastasis, and advanced cancer stage. The level of ER-alpha66 mRNA was lower in ER-alpha negative breast cancers compared with matched normal tissues. No differences in ER-alpha66 mRNA levels were observed during cancer progression.

CONCLUSION: Down-regulation of ER-alpha36 is associated with carcinogenesis and progression of breast cancer.

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