Quantitative analysis of aromatase, sulfatase and 17beta-HSD(1) mRNA expression in soft tissue metastases of breast cancer.Cancer Lett. 2006 Nov 08; 243(1):23-31.CL
Expression of the estrogen-synthesizing genes aromatase, steroid sulfatase (STS) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type1 (17beta-HSD(1)) has been shown to be up-regulated in primary breast cancer tissue but their expression status in metastatic tumor tissue has yet to be determined. The mRNA expression levels of the three estrogen-synthesizing genes as well as of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6 and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, all of which have been reported to up-regulate the estrogen-synthesizing genes, were determined by means of a real-time PCR assay in 100 primary breast cancer tissues and 15 soft tissue metastases. In addition, PCR-gel electrophoresis was used to determine the proportion (%) of promoter (l.4, l.3, Pll and l.7) usage of aromatase. Aromatase and STS mRNA levels were significantly (P=0.04 and P=0.03, respectively) higher in soft tissue metastases than in primary tumors, while 17beta-HSD(1) mRNA levels tended (P=0.09) to be higher. The proportions of the promoter usages were very similar for primary tumors and soft tissue metastases, and the mRNA levels of TNF-alpha, IL-6 and COX-2 were not significantly different. Levels of aromatase, STS and 17beta-HSD(1) mRNA are up-regulated in soft tissue metastases compared to those in primary tumors, suggesting that intra-tumoral estrogen synthesis may play a significant role in the growth stimulation of tumor cells in soft tissue metastases as in primary tumors. TNF-alpha, IL-6 and COX-2, on the other hand, are unlikely to be implicated in this up-regulation.