Estrogen plays an important role in many physiological events including carcinogenesis and the development of human breast cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms of estrogen signaling in cancers have not been clarified hitherto and accurate therapeutic prediction of breast cancer is earnestly desired. We first carried out estrogen-responsive expression profiling of approximately 9000 genes in estrogen receptor-positive human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Based on the results, estrogen-responsive genes were selected for production of a custom-made cDNA microarray. Using a microarray consisting of the narrowed-down gene subset, we first analyzed the time course of the estrogen-responsive gene expression profiles in MCF-7 cells, resulting in subdivision of the genes up-regulated by estrogen into early-responsive and late-responsive genes. The expression patterns of several genes were confirmed by Northern blot analysis. We also analyzed the effects of the estrogen antagonists ICI 182,780 and 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT) on the estrogen-responsive gene expression profiles in MCF-7 cells. While the regulation of most of the genes by estrogen was completely abolished by ICI 182,780, some genes were partially regulated by estrogen even in the presence of OHT. Furthermore, the estrogen-responsive gene expression profiles of twelve cancer cell lines derived from the breast, ovary, stomach and other tissues were obtained and analyzed by hierarchical clustering including the profiles in MCF-7 cells. Several genes also showed up-regulation or down-regulation by estrogen in cell lines other than MCF-7 cells. The significance of the estrogen-responsive genes identified in these analyses concerning the nature of cancer is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology