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Unique estrogen receptor linked to metastatic breast cancer

Providence, RI V Breast cancer awareness month may have passed, but researchers remain focused on the disease with a new study showing that a unique estrogen receptor found in breast cancer tumors is a predictor of tumor size and metastases. The study, led by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School, is published in the November 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

"We found that a novel estrogen receptor, termed GPR30, is linked to breast tumor progression and increased tumor size,"says lead author Edward J. Filardo, PhD, research associate at Rhode Island Hospital and assistant professor at Brown Medical School. "Furthermore, the results support prior research suggesting that GPR30 acts independently from the two known estrogen receptors, ER and ER."

Estrogen receptors act like ears on a breast cancer cell V estrogen attaches to the receptor and transmits signals that tells the cell to grow and multiply. Physicians test for receptors to help determine the most appropriate treatment for breast cancer patients. Typically, the more estrogen receptors present, the more likely the patient will respond to hormone therapy, such as tamoxifen.

However, approximately one in four patients that test positive for estrogen receptors, do not respond to hormone therapy prompting scientists to propose that there may be additional types of estrogen receptors that play a role tumor growth. Filardo and co-author Jeffrey Quinn, PhD, first identified GPR30 as a potential alternate estrogen receptor capable of triggering breast cancer cell growth in 2000.

In an effort to further refine the classification of GPR30, researchers in this study analyzed 361 tumor samples from breast cancer patients to compare the distribution patterns of standard estrogen receptors (ER) and GPR30. They examined how the various estrogen receptors associated with each other and their relationship with size of the primary breast tumor, lymph node invasion, and de
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Contact: Megan Martin
mmartin@lifespan.org
401-793-7484
Lifespan
1-Nov-2006


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