Identification of a novel estrogen-regulated gene, EIG121, induced by hormone replacement therapy and differentially expressed in type I and type II endometrial cancer.
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PURPOSE: The identification of genes and pathways that are affected by estrogenization may shed light on the mechanisms of estrogen action. Here, we describe the expression pattern of a novel estrogen-induced gene, EIG121, in distinct types of endometrial cancer. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: EIG121 was identified by cDNA microarray analysis of endometrial RNA from women receiving either placebo or estrogen replacement therapy. The expression level of EIG121 was then measured by real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR in benign, hyperplastic, and malignant endometrial samples. A polyclonal antibody was used to detect EIG121 protein by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: In postmenopausal endometrium, estrogen replacement therapy with Premarin and synthetic estrogen sulfate conjugates induced the expression of EIG121 2- and 3-fold, respectively. In premenopausal endometrium, the expression of EIG121 was higher in the estrogen-dominated proliferative phase than the secretory phase. In endometrial complex, hyperplasia, and endometrioid adenocarcinoma, neoplastic proliferations associated with estrogen excess, the expression of EIG121 was significantly elevated (on average 3.8-fold in hyperplasias and 21-fold in grade 1 tumors). Although the level of EIG121 mRNA in grade 3 endometrioid carcinoma was still 3.5-fold of that in benign endometrium, EIG121 expression tended to decline with increasing tumor grade and disease stage. Immunohistochemistry showed faint staining of normal endometrial epithelium, but intense staining of endometrioid tumors. In sharp contrast, EIG121 expression was significantly suppressed in both uterine papillary serous carcinoma and uterine malignant mixed mullerian tumor, two tumors not associated with estrogen exposure, to <5% of the level in benign endometrium. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that EIG121 is a good endometrial biomarker associated with a hyperestrogenic state and estrogen-related type I endometrial adenocarcinoma.