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Clinical Cancer Research
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 15  |  Issue: 12  |  Page No.: 4123 - 4130

Extranuclear Coactivator Signaling Confers Insensitivity to Tamoxifen

R Kumar, H Zhang, C Holm, R. K Vadlamudi, G Landberg and S. K. Rayala    

Abstract:

Purpose: Tamoxifen is one of many standard therapeutic options currently available for estrogen receptor-–positive breast cancer patients. Emerging data have suggested that levels of estrogen receptor coregulatory proteins play a significant role in acquiring resistance to antiestrogen action. It has been suggested that high levels of estrogen receptor coactivators and its mislocalization may enhance the estrogen agonist activity of tamoxifen and contribute to tamoxifen resistance.

Experimental Design: In an effort to understand the impact of nongenomic signaling and its contribution to hormone resistance in a whole-animal setting, we generated a transgenic mouse expressing a cytoplasmic version of proline-, glutamic acid–, and leucine-rich protein–1 (PELP1) mutant defective in its nuclear translocation (PELP1-cyto) and implanted these mice with tamoxifen pellets to assess its responsiveness.

Results: We show that mammary glands from these mice developed widespread hyperplasia with increased cell proliferation and enhanced activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and AKT as early as 12 weeks of age. Treatment with tamoxifen did not inhibit this hyperplasia; instead, such treatment exaggerated hyperplasia with an enhanced degree of alteration, indicative of hypersensitivity to tamoxifen. Analysis of molecular markers in the transgenic mammary glands from the tamoxifen-treated transgenic mice showed higher levels of proliferation markers proliferating cell nuclear antigen and activated mitogen-activated protein kinase than in untreated PELP1-cyto cell-derived mice. We also found that nude mice with MCF-7/PELP1-cyto cell-derived tumor xenografts did not respond to tamoxifen. Using immunohistochemical analysis, we found that 43% of human breast tumor samples had high levels of cytoplasmic PELP1, which shows a positive correlation between tumor grade and proliferation. Patients whose tumors had high levels of cytoplasmic PELP1 exhibited a tendency to respond poorly to tamoxifen compared with patients whose tumors had low levels of cytoplasmic PELP1.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that PELP1 localization could be used as a determinant of hormone sensitivity or vulnerability. The establishment of the PELP1-cyto transgenic mouse model is expected to facilitate the development of preclinical approaches for effective intervention of breast tumors using cytoplasmic coregulators and active nongenomic signaling.

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