Estrogen receptors outside the nucleus in breast cancer

  title={Estrogen receptors outside the nucleus in breast cancer},
  author={Ellis R. Levin and Richard J. Pietras},
  journal={Breast Cancer Research and Treatment},
The estrogen receptor (ER) is the single most powerful predictor of breast cancer prognosis as well as an important contributor to the biology of carcinogenesis. In addition, endocrine therapy targeting ER directly (SERMS) or indirectly (aromatase inhibitors) forms the mainstay of adjuant therapy. Traditionally, human tumors are scored for the amount and presence of ER. However, this has centered on the population of ER found in the transformed epithelial cell nucleus. Over the last 40 years… 
Pathways to Endocrine Therapy Resistance in Breast Cancer
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An unexpected and particularly interesting finding was that ER 36 localizes to the cytoplasm and surface membrane of cells, and that binding by both estrogen and tamoxifen activates the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway, stimulating cell growth.


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Action of estrogen is not as simple as thought previously, and is likely influenced by ERβ, its variants and interaction with cofactors, which may follow from the discovery of these proteins.
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PR is expressedextranuclearly more frequently than ER in primary breast cancer, and extranuclear HRs cross-talk with the Akt/HER-2-signaling pathways and activation of aromatase.
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New information on the biology of ER provides insight into the mechanisms of treatment resistance and new strategies to overcome it, thereby potentially making these therapies even more effective.
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Sensitive and reliable assays of estrogen, HER‐2/neu, and EGF receptors and tumor‐associated angiogenesis will be important biologic factors to consider in the choice of optimal antitumor therapies for patients with breast cancer.