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Int J Cancer. 2001 Feb 15;91(4):448-56.

Over-expression of heat shock proteins in carcinogenic endometrium.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, S-1, W-16, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-0061, Japan.


We have previously shown that the subcellular localization of beta-catenin changes according to the cell proliferation status of the human endometrium, suggesting a role of intercellular transduction in cell growth control in human endometrium not only in the physiological but also in the carcinogenic condition. To further study the possible role of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in growth control, we immunohistochemically analyzed 92 endometrial samples, 30 of normal endometrium, 20 of endometrial hyperplasia and 42 of endometrial cancer, for expression of HSP27, HSP70, HSP90, estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor. HSP27 and HSP90 were detected in endometrial epithelium strongly in the proliferative phase and weakly in the secretory phase during the menstrual cycle according to the serum estradiol level. However, they were over-expressed in endometrial hyperplasia, especially HSP27. In endometrial cancer, HSP27 expression was heterogenic among the glands and lower than that in the proliferative phase and endometrial hyperplasia. HSP27 over-expression was also observed in samples including endometrial cancer and associated hyperplasia. Results of Western blotting followed those of immunohistochemistry. HSP70 was not changed during the menstrual cycle, as HSP27 and HSP90 were, and was rather stably expressed in endometrial hyperplasia and cancer. Our results suggest that HSP27 and HSP90 contribute to cell proliferation in endometrial epithelium and that over-expression of HSP27 in endometrial hyperplasia occurs as a result of the activated condition of ER, though in cancer it decreases according to the loss of function of ER.

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