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Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Jul 15;14(14):4417-26. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-07-1950. Epub 2008 Jun 25.

Intratumoral estrogens and estrogen receptors in human non-small cell lung carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Japan.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The possible involvement of gender-dependent factors has been suggested in human non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC), but their precise roles remain largely unclear. Therefore, we examined intratumoral estradiol concentrations in NSCLC to examine local actions of estrogens in NSCLC.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:

Fifty-nine frozen specimens of NSCLC were available for liquid chromatography/electrospray tandem mass spectrometry to study intratumoral estradiol concentrations. In addition, A549 NSCLC cells stably expressing estrogen receptor (ER) alpha (A549 + ERalpha) or ERbeta (A549 + ERbeta) were used in vitro studies.

RESULTS:

Forty-three (73%) of 59 NSCLC showed higher concentration of estradiol in carcinoma tissues than the corresponding nonneoplastic lung tissues from the same patient, and intratumoral estradiol concentrations were significantly (P = 0.0002 and 2.2-fold) higher than the corresponding nonneoplastic lungs. The intratumoral concentration of estradiol was positively correlated with aromatase expression, tumor size, and Ki-67 status in ERalpha- or ERbeta-positive cases. In in vitro studies, estradiol significantly increased cell proliferation of A549 + ERalpha or A549 + ERbeta, which was significantly suppressed by selective ER modulators, tamoxifen or raloxifene. Both A549 + ERalpha and A549 + ERbeta cells expressed aromatase. The cell proliferation level in these cells was significantly increased under treatment with testosterone, and it was inhibited by addition of the aromatase inhibitor letrozole.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that estradiol is locally produced in NSCLC mainly by aromatase and plays an important role in the growth of ERalpha- or ERbeta-positive NSCLC. Therefore, use of selective ER modulators and/or aromatase inhibitors may be clinically effective in NSCLC that are positive for both ER and aromatase.

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