Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 133, Issue 3, pp 1025–1035 | Cite as

GPER mediates the Egr-1 expression induced by 17β-estradiol and 4-hydroxitamoxifen in breast and endometrial cancer cells

  • Adele Vivacqua
  • Enrica Romeo
  • Paola De Marco
  • Ernestina Marianna De Francesco
  • Sergio Abonante
  • Marcello Maggiolini
Preclinical study


Early growth response-1 (Egr-1) is an immediate early gene involved in relevant biological events including the proliferation of diverse types of cell tumors. In a microarray analysis performed in breast cancer cells, 17β-estradiol (E2) and the estrogen receptor antagonist 4-hydroxitamoxifen (OHT) up-regulated Egr-1 through the G protein-coupled receptor named GPR30/GPER. Hence, in this study, we aimed to provide evidence regarding the ability of E2, OHT and the selective GPER ligand G-1 to regulate Egr-1 expression and function through the GPER/EGFR/ERK transduction pathway in both Ishikawa (endometrial) and SkBr3 (breast) cancer cells. Interestingly, we demonstrate that Egr-1 is involved in the transcription of genes regulating cell proliferation like CTGF and cyclin D1 and required for the proliferative effects induced by E2, OHT, and G-1 in both Ishikawa and SkBr3 cells. In addition, we show that GPER mediates the expression of Egr-1 also in carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). Our data suggest that Egr-1 may represent an important mediator of the biological effects induced by E2 and OHT through GPER/EGFR/ERK signaling in breast and endometrial cancer cells. The results obtained in CAFs provide further evidence regarding the potential role exerted by the GPER-dependent Egr-1 up-regulation in tumor development and progression. Therefore, Egr-1 may be included among the bio-markers of estrogen and antiestrogen actions and may be considered as a further therapeutic target in both breast and endometrial tumors.


GPER Egr-1 CTGF Cyclin D1 Tamoxifen resistance Cancer cells 



This study was supported by Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC, project no. 8925/2009 and Calabria project, 2011), Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Calabria e Lucania and Ministero dell’Università e Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica (MIUR, Cofin project prot. 2008PK2WCW/2008).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adele Vivacqua
    • 1
  • Enrica Romeo
    • 1
  • Paola De Marco
    • 1
  • Ernestina Marianna De Francesco
    • 1
  • Sergio Abonante
    • 2
  • Marcello Maggiolini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaco-BiologyUniversity of CalabriaRendeItaly
  2. 2.Regional HospitalCosenzaItaly

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