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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2010 December;62(6):573-83

language: English

Extranuclear signaling by estrogen: role in breast cancer progression and metastasis

Cortez V., Mann M., Brann D. W., Vadlamudi R. K.

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio TX, USA;
2 Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, USA;
3 Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, MCG, Augusta, Georgia, USA


The estrogen receptor (ERa) is implicated in the progression of breast cancer. Hormonal therapies which block ER functions or local and systemic estrogen production are currently used to treat ERa positive breast cancer. Hormonal therapy shows beneficial effects, however, initial or acquired resistance to endocrine therapies frequently occurs, and tumors recur as metastasis. Emerging evidence suggests in addition to exerting its well-studied nuclear functions, ERa also participates in extranuclear signaling that involve growth factor signaling components, adaptor molecules and the stimulation of cytosolic kinases. ERa extranuclear pathways have the potential to activate gene transcription, modulate cytoskeleton, and promote tumor cell proliferation, survival, and metastasis. Cytoplasmic/membrane ERa is detected in a subset of breast tumors and expression of extranuclear components ERa is deregulated in tumors. The extranuclear actions of ER are emerging as important targets for tumorigenic and metastatic control. Inhibition of ERa extranuclear actions has the potential to prevent breast tumor progression and may be useful in preventing ERa positive metastasis. In this review, we summarize the results of recent research into the role of ERa mediated extranuclear actions in breast tumorigenesis and metastasis.

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