To identify genes associated with survival from antiestrogens, both serial analysis of gene expression and gene expression microarrays were used to explore the transcriptomes of antiestrogen-responsive (MCF7/LCC1) and -resistant variants (MCF7/LCC9) of the MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line. Structure of the gene microarray expression data was visualized at the top level using a novel algorithm that derives the first three principal components, fitted to the antiestrogen-resistant and -responsive gene expression data, from Fisher's information matrix. The differential regulation of several candidate genes was confirmed. Functional studies of the basal expression and endocrine regulation of transcriptional activation of implicated transcription factors were studied using promoter-reporter assays. The putative tumor suppressor interferon regulatory factor-1 is down-regulated in resistant cells, whereas its nucleolar phosphoprotein inhibitor nucleophosmin is up-regulated. Resistant cells also up-regulate the transcriptional activation of cyclic AMP response element (CRE) binding and nuclear factor κB (NFκB) while down-regulating epidermal growth factor receptor protein expression. Inhibition of NFκB activity by ICI 182,780 is lost in resistant cells, but CRE activity is not regulated by ICI 182,780 in either responsive or resistant cells. Parthenolide, a potent and specific inhibitor of NFκB, inhibits the anchorage-dependent proliferation of antiestrogen-resistant but not antiestrogen-responsive cells. This observation implies a greater reliance on their increased NFκB signaling for proliferation in cells that have survived prolonged exposure to ICI 182,780. These data from serial analysis of gene expression and gene microarray studies implicate changes in a novel signaling pathway, involving interferon regulatory factor-1, nucleophosmin, NFκB, and CRE binding in cell survival after antiestrogen exposure. Cells can up-regulate some estrogen-responsive genes while concurrently losing the ability of antiestrogens to regulate their expression. Signaling pathways that are not regulated by estrogens also can be up-regulated. Thus, some breast cancer cells may survive antiestrogen treatment by bypassing specific growth inhibitory signals induced by antagonist-occupied estrogen receptors.
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|Published - Jun 15 2002