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Cancer Cell. 2013 Jun 10;23(6):753-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2013.04.026.

PDEF promotes luminal differentiation and acts as a survival factor for ER-positive breast cancer cells.

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Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology, and Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease and can be classified based on gene expression profiles that reflect distinct epithelial subtypes. We identify prostate-derived ETS factor (PDEF) as a mediator of mammary luminal epithelial lineage-specific gene expression and as a factor required for tumorigenesis in a subset of breast cancers. PDEF levels strongly correlate with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive luminal breast cancer, and PDEF transcription is inversely regulated by ER and GATA3. Furthermore, PDEF is essential for luminal breast cancer cell survival and is required in models of endocrine resistance. These results offer insights into the function of this ETS factor that are clinically relevant and may be of therapeutic value for patients with breast cancer treated with endocrine therapy.

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