Alcohol Regulates Genes that Are Associated with Response to Endocrine Therapy and Attenuates the Actions of Tamoxifen in Breast Cancer Cells.
Additional Document Info
Hereditary, hormonal, and behavioral factors contribute to the development of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption is a modifiable behavior that is linked to increased breast cancer risks and is associated with the development of hormone-dependent breast cancers as well as disease progression and recurrence following endocrine treatment. In this study we examined the molecular mechanisms of action of alcohol by applying molecular, genetic, and genomic approaches in characterizing its effects on estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer cells. Treatments with alcohol promoted cell proliferation, increased growth factor signaling, and up-regulated the transcription of the ER target gene GREB1 but not the canonical target TFF1/pS2. Microarray analysis following alcohol treatment identified a large number of alcohol-responsive genes, including those which function in apoptotic and cell proliferation pathways. Furthermore, expression profiles of the responsive gene sets in tumors were strongly associated with clinical outcomes in patients who received endocrine therapy. Correspondingly, alcohol treatment attenuated the anti-proliferative effects of the endocrine therapeutic drug tamoxifen in ER-positive breast cancer cells. To determine the contribution and functions of responsive genes, their differential expression in tumors were assessed between outcome groups. The proto-oncogene BRAF was identified as a novel alcohol- and estrogen-induced gene that showed higher expression in patients with poor outcomes. Knock-down of BRAF, moreover, prevented the proliferation of breast cancer cells. These findings not only highlight the mechanistic basis of the effects of alcohol on breast cancer cells and increased risks for disease incidents and recurrence, but may facilitate the discovery and characterization of novel oncogenic pathways and markers in breast cancer research and therapeutics.