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Hypermethylation of the progesterone receptor A in constitutive antiprogestin-resistant mouse mammary carcinomas.

Laboratory of Hormonal Carcinogenesis, Institute of Experimental Biology and Medicine (IBYME), National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), Vuelta de Obligado 2490, C1428ADN, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (Impact Factor: 4.47). 05/2010; 126(2):319-32. DOI: 10.1007/s10549-010-0908-x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Most breast carcinomas that are estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) positive respond initially to an endocrine therapy, but over time, they develop resistance (acquired hormone resistance). Others, however, fail to respond from the beginning (constitutive resistance). Overcoming hormone resistance is one of the major desirable aims in breast cancer treatment. Using the medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA)-induced breast cancer mouse model, we have previously demonstrated that antiprogestin-responsive tumors show a higher expression level of PR isoform A (PRA) than PR isoform B (PRB), while tumors with constitutive or acquired resistance show a higher expression level of PRB. The aim of this study was to investigate whether PRA silencing in resistant tumors was due to PRA methylation. The CpG islands located in the PRA promoter and the first exon were studied by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) in six different tumors: two antiprogestin-responsive, two constitutive-resistant, and two with acquired resistance. Only in constitutive-resistant tumors, PRA expression was silenced by DNA methylation. Next, we evaluated the effect of a demethylating agent, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, on PRA expression and antiprogestin responsiveness. In constitutive-resistant tumors, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment in vitro and in vivo restored PRA expression and antiprogestin RU-486 responsiveness. Furthermore, high levels of DNA methyltransferase (Dnmts) 1 and 3b were detected in these tumors. In conclusion, our results suggest that methyltransferase inhibitors in combination with antiprogestins may be effective in the treatment of constitutive-resistant carcinomas with a high DNA methyltransferase level.

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