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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2005 Nov;56 Suppl 1:21-6.

Clinical significance of estrogen receptor beta in breast cancer.

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Department of Surgery and Breast Oncology, Tokyo Metropolitan Komagome Hospital, 3-18-22 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku, 113-8677, Tokyo, Japan.


Ever since the estrogen receptor (ER) beta was discovered in 1996, we have been trying to determine its value as a prognostic and/or predictive factor in breast cancer and its potential as a novel target for pharmacological intervention. Recent progress in cellular experiments has shown that ERbeta works as counter partner of ERalpha through inhibition of the transactivating function of ERalpha by heterodimerization, distinct regulation on several specific promoters by ERalpha or ERbeta, and ERbeta-specific regulated genes which are probably related to its anti-proliferative properties. Accumulated data from protein studies in breast cancer tissues indicate that positive expression of ERbeta appears to correlate with a favorable prognosis. Although the number of studies is small, a positive response to tamoxifen treatment is observed in both ERalpha- and ERbeta-positive populations. The significance of ERbeta2/cx, a splicing variant of ERbeta, remains controversial and needs to be analyzed in further studies. We postulate that a combined evaluation of ERbetacx with progesterone receptor may help the stratification of ERalpha-positive breast cancer. Epidemiological studies of hormone replacement therapy and isoflavone (genistein) consumption indicate the possible contribution of ERbeta-specific signaling in breast cancer prevention. A selective estrogen receptor modulator, which works as an antagonist of ERalpha and an agonist of ERbeta, may be a promising chemo-preventive treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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