Downregulation of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase in hormone-resistant breast cancer
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KeywordsBreast Cancer Tamoxifen Estrogen Receptor Alpha Endocrine Resistance Primary Human Breast
Tamoxifen has been the principal endocrine therapy for estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive breast cancer patients and still remains the therapy of choice in the premenopausal setting. However, resistance and recurrence remain a serious problem. Our previous work has indicated that 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) was significantly down-regulated in two, independently derived, tamoxifen-resistant (TAMr) MCF-7 derivatives compared with sensitive controls . 15-PGDH is the key enzyme for the biological inactivation of prostaglandins, and has been shown to be a tumour suppressor in breast cancer. However, a role for 15-PGDH downregulation in endocrine resistance has not previously been identified.
Methods and results
Downregulation of 15-PGDH mRNA and protein in TAMr MCF-7 was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR and western blotting. To determine the role of 15-PGDH in TAMr, we stably transfected TAMr MCF-7 cells with human 15-PGDH cDNA. Overexpression of 15-PGDH partially restored sensitivity of TAMr cells to 4-hydroxytamoxifen by the MTT assay, demonstrating that 15-PGDH downregulation plays a functional role in the acquisition of TAMr. Treatment of TAMr MCF-7 cells with a DNA methyl-transferase inhibitor (5-azacytidine), and a histone deacetylase inhibitor (trichostatin A), led to re-expression of 15-PGDH mRNA (by quantitative RT-PCR), suggesting that 15-PGDH is silenced via epigenetic mechanisms during the acquisition of TAMr. To address whether 15-PGDH downregulation is involved in clinical TAMr, we assembled a tissue microarray comprising 89 relapsed primary human breast cancers and 234 tamoxifen-sensitive controls. We are currently optimizing 15-PGDH immunohistochemistry on our tissue microarrays, and results will be presented.
Our data suggest that the acquisition of TAMr in vitro involves epigenetic silencing of 15-PGDH. Moreover, our data show that 15-PGDH downregulation has a novel, functional role in endocrine resistance.