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Estrogen receptor-α36 is involved in pterostilbene-induced apoptosis and anti-proliferation in in vitro and in vivo breast cancer

Estrogen receptor-α36 is involved in pterostilbene-induced apoptosis and anti-proliferation in in vitro and in vivo breast cancer

Plos one 9(8): E104459

Pterostilbene (trans-3,5-dimethoxy-4'-hudroxystilbene) is an antioxidant primarily found in blueberries. It also inhibits breast cancer regardless of conventional estrogen receptor (ER-α66) status by inducing both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent apoptosis. However, the pterostilbene-induced apoptosis rate in ER-α66-negative breast cancer cells is much higher than that in ER-α66-positive breast cancer cells. ER-α36, a variant of ER-α66, is widely expressed in ER-α66-negative breast cancer, and its high expression mediates the resistance of ER-α66-positive breast cancer patients to tamoxifen therapy. The aim of the present study is to determine the relationship between the antiproliferation activity of pterostilbene and ER-α36 expression in breast cancer cells. Methyl-thiazolyl-tetrazolium (MTT) assay, apoptosis analysis, and an orthotropic xenograft mouse model were used to examine the effects of pterostilbene on breast cancer cells. The expressions of ER-α36 and caspase 3, the activation of ERK and Akt were also studied through RT-PCR, western blot analysis, and immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. ER-α36 knockdown was found to desensitize ER-α66-negative breast cancer cells to pterostilbene treatment both in vitro and in vivo, and high ER-α36 expression promotes pterostilbene-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Western blot analysis data indicate that MAPK/ERK and PI3K/Akt signaling in breast cancer cells with high ER-α36 expression are mediated by ER-α36, and are inhibited by pterostilbene. These results suggest that ER-α36 is a therapeutic target in ER-α36-positive breast cancer, and pterostilbene is an inhibitor that targets ER-α36 in the personalized therapy against ER-α36-positive breast cancer.

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Accession: 053043571

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PMID: 25127034

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104459

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