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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Feb;113(3-5):195-201. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.12.008. Epub 2008 Dec 30.

Expression level of enzymes related to in situ estrogen synthesis and clinicopathological parameters in breast cancer patients.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Research Center, Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co. Ltd., 1188 Shimotogari, Nagaizumi-cho, Sunto-gun, Shizuoka, Japan.


In order to evaluate the importance of estrogen production in tumor and surrounding tissues, we measured mRNA expression levels of 5 enzymes participating to estrogen synthesis in situ and 4 breast cancer-related proteins in 27 pairs of tumor and non-malignant tissues. Steroid sulfatase (STS) mRNA was more frequently detected in tumor tissues rather than in their non-malignant counterparts. Estrogen sulfotransferase (EST) was constantly expressed with high level not only in tumor tissues but also in their surrounding non-malignant counterparts. In contrast, mRNA expression levels of aromatase, and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type I and II were relatively low and detected only in small proportion of the patients. We also measured the mRNA expression levels of the same nine genes in tumor tissues of 197 breast cancer patients, and analyzed relationship between the mRNA expression level and the clinicopathological parameters. The mRNA expression levels of STS, aromatase and erbB2 in tumor tissues increased as breast cancer progressed. The tumoral mRNA expression levels of STS, estrogen receptor beta, and erbB2 in patients with recurrence were higher than those in patients without recurrence. Upregulation of STS expression plays an important role in tumor progression of human breast cancer and is considered to be responsible for estrogen production in tumor and surrounding tissues.

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