Article

PKA-induced phosphorylation of ERα at serine 305 and high PAK1 levels is associated with sensitivity to tamoxifen in ER-positive breast cancer

Department of Experimental Therapy, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (Impact Factor: 4.2). 03/2010; 125(1):1-12. DOI: 10.1007/s10549-010-0798-y
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Phosphorylation of estrogen receptor α at serine 305 (ERαS305-P) by protein kinase A (PKA) or p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) has experimentally been associated with tamoxifen sensitivity. Here, we investigated the clinical application of this knowledge to predict tamoxifen resistance in ER-positive breast cancer patients. Using immunohistochemistry, a score including PAK1 and co-expression of PKA and ERαS305-P (PKA/ERαS305-P) was developed on a training set consisting of 103 patients treated with tamoxifen for metastatic disease, and validated on 231 patients randomized between adjuvant tamoxifen or no treatment. In the training set, PAK1 levels were associated with tumor progression after tamoxifen (HR 1.57, 95% CI 0.99-2.48), as was co-expression of PKA and ERαS305-P (HR 2.00, 95% CI 1.14-3.52). In the validation set, a significant tamoxifen benefit was found among the 73% patients negative for PAK1 and PKA/ERαS305-P (HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.34-0.87), while others (27%) were likely to have no benefit from tamoxifen (HR 0.88, 95% 0.42-1.82). The test for interaction showed a significant difference in recurrence-free survival between groups defined by PAK1 and PKA/ERαS305-P (P = 0.037). Elevated PAK1 and PKA/ERαS305-P appeared to influence tamoxifen sensitivity. Both PAK1 and PKA/ERαS305-P levels were associated with sensitivity to tamoxifen in breast tumors and the combination of these variables should be considered in predicting tamoxifen benefit.

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Présentement, les études ont principalement considérées le rôle de ERα, cependant avec la découverte de ERβ, notre compréhension de la diversité des mécanismes potentiels impliquant des réponses ER-dépendantes s’est améliorée. L’activation des voies des kinases par les facteurs de croissance entraîne le développement d’un phénotype tumoral résistant aux traitements actuels. Nos connaissances des voies impliquées dans l’activation de ER sont restreintes. ERα est considéré comme le sous-type dominant et corrèle avec la plupart des facteurs de pronostic dans le cancer du sein. Le rôle de ERβ reste imprécis. Les résultats présentés dans cette thèse ont pour objectif de mieux comprendre l’implication de ERβ dans la prolifération cellulaire par l’étude du comportement de ERβ et ERα suite à l’activation des voies de signalisation par les facteurs de croissance. Nous démontrons que l’activation des récepteurs de surfaces de la famille ErbB, spécifiquement ErbB2/ErbB3, inhibe l’activité transcriptionnelle de ERβ, malgré la présence du coactivateur CBP, tout en activant ERα. De plus, l’inhibition de ERβ est attribuée à un résidu sérine (Ser-255) situé dans la région charnière, absente dans ERα. Des études supplémentaires de ErbB2/ErbB3 ont révélé qu’ils activent la voie PI3K/Akt ciblant à son tour la Ser-255. En effet, cette phosphorylation de ERβ par PI3K/Akt induit une augmentation de l’ubiquitination du récepteur qui promeut sa dégradation par le système ubiquitine-protéasome. Cette dégradation est spécifique pour ERβ. De façon intéressante, la dégradation par le protéasome requiert la présence du coactivateur CBP normalement requis pour l’activité transcriptionnelle des récepteurs nucléaires. Malgré le fait que l’activation de la voie PI3K/Akt corrèle avec une diminution de l’expression des gènes sous le contrôle de ERβ, on observe une augmentation de la prolifération des cellules cancéreuses. L’inhibition de la dégradation de ERβ réduit cette prolifération excessive causée par le traitement avec Hrgβ1, un ligand de ErbB3. Un nombre croissant d’évidences indique que les voies de signalisations des facteurs de croissance peuvent sélectivement réguler l’activité transcriptionnelle de sous-types de ER. De plus, le ratio ERα/ERβ dans les cancers du sein devient un outil de diagnostique populaire afin de déterminer la sévérité d’une tumeur. En conclusion, la caractérisation moléculaire du couplage entre la signalisation des facteurs de croissance et la fonction des ERs permettra le développement de nouveaux traitements afin de limiter l’apparition de cellules tumorales résistantes aux thérapies endocriniennes actuelles. It has long been appreciated that estrogenic signaling plays a critical role in the development of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer. Two-thirds of breast cancers express estrogen receptor (ER) which has been demonstrated to play an irrefutable role in tumour development and progression. However the acquisition of endocrine resistance has become a major obstacle in the treatment of hormone-dependent cancers that have acquired a hormone-independent state. Hormone-independent cancers emerge from an array of pathways involving ER activation in the absence of estrogen, hypersensitivity of ER to low serum levels of estrogen and activation by estrogen antagonists. The activity of ER is critically influenced by the cellular environment such as growth factor signaling pathways, availability of coregulatory proteins and the promoter sequence of target genes. The mechanisms studied have mostly considered the role of ERα, however with the discovery of the second subtype, ERβ, the understanding on the diversity of potential mechanisms involving ER-dependent responses have improved. Hormonal-independent activation of ER can occur in estrogen-dependent breast tumours, with concomitant rise in kinase signaling pathways, resulting in the acquisition of a therapeutic resistant phenotype in treated women. Our knowledge is relatively limited on which pathways trigger ER signaling and how these phosphorylation-coupled events affect ER activity. ERα is considered the dominant subtype and correlates with most of the prognostic factors in breast cancers. Conversely the role of ERβ remains unclear. The results presented in this thesis were carried out with the objective of gaining a better understanding of ERβ’s role in cellular proliferation by examining the behavior of ERβ and ERα during the activation of growth factor signaling pathways by cell-surface receptor-tyrosine kinases. We demonstrate here that the activation of cell surface receptors of the ErbB family, specifically ErbB2/ErbB3, inhibits the transcriptional activity of ERβ despite the presence of the coactivator CBP, yet activated ERα. Furthermore the inhibition of ERβ was attributed to a specific serine residue located within the hinge region, not present in ERα. Additional studies of ErbB2/ErbB3-initiated signaling revealed that it triggered the activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway which targeted the serine residue within the hinge region of ERβ. 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Therefore the molecular characterization of the coupling between growth factor signaling and ER function should provide improved therapeutical approaches to overcome or delay the onset of resistance to endocrine therapy in hormone-dependent cancers.
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