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Breast Cancer Res. 2004;6(1):39-52. Epub 2003 Nov 7.

Advances in estrogen receptor biology: prospects for improvements in targeted breast cancer therapy.

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Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Estrogen receptor (ER) has a crucial role in normal breast development and is expressed in the most common breast cancer subtypes. Importantly, its expression is very highly predictive for response to endocrine therapy. Current endocrine therapies for ER-positive breast cancers target ER function at multiple levels. These include targeting the level of estrogen, blocking estrogen action at the ER, and decreasing ER levels. However, the ultimate effectiveness of therapy is limited by either intrinsic or acquired resistance. Identifying the factors and pathways responsible for sensitivity and resistance remains a challenge in improving the treatment of breast cancer. With a better understanding of coordinated action of ER, its coregulatory factors, and the influence of other intracellular signaling cascades, improvements in breast cancer therapy are emerging.

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