Progesterone and progesterone receptors (PRs) are essential for the development and cyclical regulation of hormone-responsive tissues including the breast and reproductive tract. Altered functions of PR isoforms contribute to the pathogenesis of tumors that arise in these tissues. In the breast, progesterone acts in concert with estrogen to promote proliferative and pro-survival gene programs. In sharp contrast, progesterone inhibits estrogen-driven growth in the uterus and protects the ovary from neoplastic transformation. Progesterone-dependent actions and associated biology in diverse tissues and tumors are mediated by two PR isoforms, PR-A and PR-B. These isoforms are subject to altered transcriptional activity or expression levels, differential crosstalk with growth factor signaling pathways, and distinct post-translational modifications and cofactor-binding partners. Herein, we summarize and discuss the recent literature focused on progesterone and PR isoform-specific actions in breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers. Understanding the complexity of context-dependent PR actions in these tissues is critical to developing new models that will allow us to advance our knowledge base with the goal of revealing novel and efficacious therapeutic regimens for these hormone-responsive diseases.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Society for Endocrinology.
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Progesterone receptor