Macrophage-elicited loss of estrogen receptor-α in breast cancer cells via involvement of MAPK and c-Jun at the ESR1 genomic locus.Stossi F, Madak-Erdoğan Z, Katzenellenbogen BS.Oncogene. 2012 Apr 5;31(14):1825-34

Estrogen receptor-α (ERα, ESR1) is a pivotal transcriptional regulator of breast cancer physiology and is targeted by endocrine therapies. Loss of ERα activity or expression is an indication of endocrine resistance and is associated with increased risk of tumor recurrence and worse prognosis. In this study, we sought to investigate whether elements of the tumor microenvironment, namely macrophages, would impact on ERα and we found that macrophage-derived factors caused loss of ERα expression in breast cancer cells. Conditioned media from macrophages caused activation of several intracellular pathways in breast cancer cells of which c-Src, protein kinase c and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) were essential for loss of ERα expression. Moreover, a prolonged hyperactivation of MAPK was observed. The activation of this kinase cascade resulted in recruitment of extracellular signal regulated kinase 2 (ERK2) directly to chromatin at the ESR1 gene locus in a process that was dependent upon activation and recruitment of the c-Jun transcription factor. Thus, we identify a novel mechanism for loss of ERα expression in breast cancer cells via macrophage activation of kinase cascades in the cancer cells causing transcriptional repression of the ESR1 gene by a direct chromatin action of a c-Jun/ERK2 complex. The findings in this study support an alternative mechanism, not intrinsic to the tumor cell but derived from the cross-talk with the tumor microenvironment, that could lead to endocrine resistance and might be targeted therapeutically to prevent loss of ERα expression in breast tumors.PMID:21860415

Comments are closed.