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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2007 Mar;102(1):7-18. Epub 2006 Aug 8.

Coordinated steroid hormone-dependent and independent expression of multiple kallikreins in breast cancer cell lines.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave., M5G 1X5 Toronto, ON, Canada.


The regulation of gene expression by steroid hormones plays an important role in the normal development and function of many organs, as well in the pathogenesis of endocrine-related cancers. Previous experiments have shown that many kallikrein genes are under steroid hormone regulation in breast cancer cell lines. We here examine the coordinated expression of multiple kallikrein genes in several breast cancer cell lines after steroid hormone stimulation. Breast cancer cell lines were treated with various steroid hormones and kallikrein (KLK/hK) expression of hK3 (prostate-specific antigen, PSA), hK5, hK6, hK7, hK8, hK10, hK11, hK13, and hK14 was analyzed at the RNA level via RT-PCR and at the protein level by immunofluorometric ELISA assays. We identified several distinct hK hormone-dependent and hormone-independent expression patterns. Hormone-specific modulation of expression was seen for several kallikreins in BT-474, MCF-7, and T-47D cell lines. hK6 was specifically up-regulated upon estradiol treatment in all three cell lines whereas PSA expression was induced by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and norgestrel stimulation in BT-474 and T-47D. hK10, hK11, hK13, and hK14 were specifically up-regulated by DHT in T-47D and by estradiol in BT-474 cells. Bioinformatic analysis of upstream proximal promoter sequences for these hKs did not identify any recognizable hormone-response elements (HREs), suggesting that the coordinated activation of these four hKs represents a unique expression "cassette", utilizing a common hormone-dependent mechanism. We conclude that groups of human hKs are coordinately expressed in a steroid hormone-dependent manner. Our data supports clinical observations linking expression of multiple hKs with breast cancer prognosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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