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Mol Endocrinol. 2003 Jul;17(7):1344-55. Epub 2003 Apr 24.

Functional implications of antiestrogen induction of quinone reductase: inhibition of estrogen-induced deoxyribonucleic acid damage.

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Department of Pharmacology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


Recent studies have shown that the antiestrogens tamoxifen and raloxifene may protect against breast cancer, presumably because of a blockade of estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated transcription. Another possible explanation is that antiestrogen-liganded ER transcriptionally induces genes that are protective against cancer. We previously reported that antiestrogen-liganded ERbeta transcriptionally activates the major detoxifying enzyme quinone reductase (QR) [NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase]. It has been established that metabolites of estrogen, termed catecholestrogens, can form DNA adducts and cause oxidative DNA damage. We hypothesize that QR inhibits estrogen-induced DNA damage by detoxification of reactive catecholestrogens. We report here that physiological concentrations of 17beta-estradiol cause oxidative DNA damage, as measured by levels of 8- hydroxydeoxyguanine, in ER-positive MCF7 breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells (ERalpha negative/ERbeta positive) and nontumorigenic MCF10A breast epithelial cells (very low ER), which is dependent on estrogen metabolism. Estrogen-induced 8-hydroxydeoxyguanine was inversely correlated to QR and ERbeta levels and was followed by downstream induction of the DNA repair enzyme XPA. Trans-hydroxytamoxifen, raloxifene, and the pure antiestrogen ICI-182,780 protected against estradiol-mediated damage in breast cancer cells containing ERbeta. This is most likely due to the ability of these antiestrogens to activate expression of QR via ERbeta. We conclude that up-regulation of QR, either by overexpression or induction by tamoxifen, can protect breast cells against oxidative DNA damage caused by estrogen metabolites, representing a possible novel mechanism of tamoxifen prevention against breast cancer.

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