PloS one

Alternate estrogen receptors promote invasion of inflammatory breast cancer cells via non-genomic signaling.

PMID 22295107


Although Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is a rare and an aggressive type of locally advanced breast cancer with a generally worst prognosis, little work has been done in identifying the status of non-genomic signaling in the invasiveness of IBC. The present study was performed to explore the status of non-genomic signaling as affected by various estrogenic and anti-estrogenic agents in IBC cell lines SUM149 and SUM190. We have identified the presence of estrogen receptor α (ERα) variant, ERα36 in SUM149 and SUM190 cells. This variant as well as ERβ was present in a substantial concentration in IBC cells. The treatment with estradiol (E2), anti-estrogenic agents 4-hydroxytamoxifen and ICI 182780, ERβ specific ligand DPN and GPR30 agonist G1 led to a rapid activation of p-ERK1/2, suggesting the involvement of ERα36, ERβ and GPR30 in the non-genomic signaling pathway in these cells. We also found a substantial increase in the cell migration and invasiveness of SUM149 cells upon the treatment with these ligands. Both basal and ligand-induced migration and invasiveness of SUM149 cells were drastically reduced in the presence of MEK inhibitor U0126, implicating that the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 by MEK is involved in the observed motility and invasiveness of IBC cells. We also provide evidence for the upregulation of p-ERK1/2 through immunostaining in IBC patient samples. These findings suggest a role of non-genomic signaling through the activation of p-ERK1/2 in the hormonal dependence of IBC by a combination of estrogen receptors. These findings only explain the failure of traditional anti-estrogen therapies in ER-positive IBC which induces the non-genomic signaling, but also opens newer avenues for design of modified therapies targeting these estrogen receptors.