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Br J Cancer. 2004 Nov 1;91(9):1687-93.

Inverse relationship between ER-beta and SRC-1 predicts outcome in endocrine-resistant breast cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Saint Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin 4, Ireland.


The oestrogen receptor (ER) interacts with coactivator proteins to modulate genes central to breast tumour progression. Oestrogen receptor is encoded for by two genes, ER-alpha and ER-beta. Although ER-alpha has been well characterized, the role of ER-beta as a prognostic indicator remains unresolved. To determine isoform-specific expression of ER and coexpression with activator proteins, we examined the expression and localisation of ER-alpha, ER-beta and the coactivator protein steroid receptor coactivator 1 (SRC-1) by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence in a cohort of human breast cancer patients (n=150). Relative levels of SRC-1 in primary breast cultures derived from patient tumours in the presence of beta-oestradiol and tamoxifen was assessed using Western blotting (n=14). Oestrogen receptor-beta protein expression was associated with disease-free survival (DFS) and inversely associated with the expression of HER2 (P=0.0008 and P<0.0001, respectively), whereas SRC-1 was negatively associated with DFS and positively correlated with HER2 (P<0.0001 and P<0.0001, respectively). Steroid receptor coactivator 1 protein expression was regulated in response to beta-oestradiol or tamoxifen in 57% of the primary tumour cell cultures. Protein expression of ER-beta and SRC-1 was inversely associated (P=0.0001). The association of ER-beta protein expression with increased DFS and its inverse relationship with SRC-1 suggests a role for these proteins in predicting outcome in breast cancer.

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