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J Cancer. 2018 Oct 1;9(20):3802-3811. doi: 10.7150/jca.29233. eCollection 2018.

Oestrogen Inhibits VEGF Expression And Angiogenesis In Triple-Negative Breast Cancer By Activating GPER-1.

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Department of Physiology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.


Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most malignant type of breast cancer with ample vascularisation and high vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression. The sex steroid hormone oestrogen is involved in several cellular activities associated with TNBC regulation. However, the role of oestrogen in VEGF expression and angiogenesis in TNBC remains unclear. In this study, we found that treatment with 17β-oestradiol (E2) inhibited VEGF mRNA and protein expression in the TNBC cell lines MDA-MB-468 and MDA-MB-436. To further elaborate on the phenomenon of E2-regulated angiogenesis, we showed that conditioned medium from the TNBC cell line MDA-MB-468 treated with E2 inhibits the tube formation ability of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Additionally, the G-protein-coupled oestrogen receptor-1 (GPER-1)-specific agonist G-1 has a function similar to that of E2. While G-15, the selective antagonist of GPER-1, notably reversed the inhibitory effects of E2 and G-1 on VEGF expression and tube formation, suggesting that GPER-1 is involved in the E2-induced angiogenesis suppression in TNBC cells. Moreover, E2 inhibited in vivo tumour growth and angiogenesis and reduced the expression levels of VEGF, NF-κB/p65, STAT3, and the endothelial marker CD34 in MDA-MB-468 xenograft tumours. Our findings provide important evidence that E2 can inhibit VEGF expression and angiogenesis in TNBC by activating GPER-1, offering additional insight into tumour angiogenesis and targets for drug intervention in TNBC.


GPER-1; TNBC; VEGF; angiogenesis; oestrogen

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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