Selective estrogen-induced apoptosis in breast cancer

Ifeyinwa E. Obiorah, Ping Fan, Surojeet Sengupta, V. Craig Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Antihormone therapy remains the gold standard of care in the treatment of estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer. However, development of acquired long term antihormone resistance exposes a vulnerability to estrogen that induces apoptosis. Laboratory and clinical studies indicate that successful therapy with estrogens is dependent on the duration of estrogen withdrawal and menopausal status of a woman. Interrogation of estradiol (E2) induced apoptosis using molecular studies indicate treatment of long term estrogen deprived MCF-7 breast cancer cells with estrogen causes an endoplasmic reticulum stress response that induces an unfolded protein response signal to inhibit protein translation. E2 binds to the ER and mediates apoptosis through the classical genomic pathway. Furthermore, the induction of apoptosis by estrogens is dependent on the conformation of the estrogen-ER complex. In this review, we explore the mechanism and the processes involved in the paradox of estrogen induced apoptosis and the new selectivity of estrogen action on different cell populations that is correctly been deciphered for clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-70
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work (VCJ) was supported by the Department of Defense Breast Program under Award number W81XWH-06-1-0590 Center of Excellence; the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation under Award number SAC100009, the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer 1095 Center Support Grant (CCSG) Core Grant NIH P30 CA051008. The views and opinions of the author(s) do not reflect those of the US Army or the Department of Defense.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Published by Elsevier Inc.


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast cancer
  • Endoplasmicreticulum stress
  • Estradiol
  • Inflammation
  • Unfolded protein response


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