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Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Jul 15;16(14):3659-69. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-0501. Epub 2010 May 25.

Angiogenin regulation by estradiol in breast tissue: tamoxifen inhibits angiogenin nuclear translocation and antiangiogenin therapy reduces breast cancer growth in vivo.

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Division of Oncology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.



Angiogenin, a 14.2-kDa polypeptide member of the RNase A superfamily, has potent angiogenic effects. Nuclear accumulation of angiogenin is essential for its angiogenic activity. Increased angiogenin expression has been associated with the transition of normal breast tissue into invasive breast carcinoma. In this article, we investigated whether estradiol (E(2)) affected angiogenin in breast tissue.


We used microdialysis for sampling of extracellular angiogenin in vivo. In vitro cultures of whole normal breast tissue, breast cancer cells, and endothelial cells were used.


We show that extracellular angiogenin correlated significantly with E(2) in normal human breast tissue in vivo and that exposure of normal breast tissue biopsies to E(2) stimulated angiogenin secretion. In breast cancer patients, the in vivo angiogenin levels were significantly higher in tumors compared with the adjacent normal breast tissue. In estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells, E(2) increased and tamoxifen decreased angiogenin secretion. Moreover, E(2)-induced angiogenin derived from cancer cells significantly increased endothelial cell proliferation. Tamoxifen reversed this increase as well as inhibited nuclear translocation of angiogenin. In vivo, in experimental breast cancer, tamoxifen decreased angiogenin levels and decreased angiogenesis. Additionally, treating tumor-bearing mice with an antiangiogenin antibody resulted in tumor stasis, suggesting a role for angiogenin in estrogen-dependent breast cancer growth.


Our results suggest previously unknown mechanisms by which estrogen and antiestrogen regulate angiogenesis in normal human breast tissue and breast cancer. This may be important for estrogen-driven breast cancer progression and a molecular target for therapeutic interventions.

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