Authors: Shanle EK, Onitilo AA, Huang W, Kim K, Zang C, Engel JM, Xu W, Wisinski KB
Issue: Am J Transl Res. 2015 Jul 15;7(7):1246-59
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive breast cancer subtype for which there is a need to identify new therapeutic targets. Full-length estrogen receptor beta (ERβ1) may be a possible target given its antiproliferative effects on breast cancer cells. The prognostic significance of ERβ in breast cancer subtypes has remained elusive, and disparate results observed across previously published reports might be due to the detection of multiple ERβ isoforms, the lack of specific antibodies and the use of different cutoffs to define ERβpositivity. The objective of this retrospective study was to determine the association between ERβ1 expression and disease-free and overall survival, as well as Ki67 expression, in non-metastatic TNBC. Immunohistochemical protocols were optimized using xenograft tissues obtained from a breast cancer cell line with inducible ERβ1 expression. ERβ1 localization and expression were assessed in two cohorts of TNBC using the VECTRA(TM) platform. There was a close relationship between nuclear and cytoplasmic ERβ1 expression. ERβ1 was expressed in a subset of TNBCs, but its expression was significantly associated with Ki67 in only one of the cohorts. There was no significant association between ERβ1 expression and disease-free and overall survival in either cohort. Although these results suggest that ERβ1 expression alone may not be informative in TNBCs, this study provides a new strategy for optimizing and objectively measuring ERβ1 expression in tissues, which may provide a standard for ERβ1 immunohistochemistry in future large-scale clinical studies aimed at better understanding the role of ERβ1 in breast cancer.