Hormonal regulation of MUC1 expression

Int J Biol Markers. 1999 Jan-Mar;14(1):29-35. doi: 10.1177/172460089901400106.


Several circulating mucinous markers, including CA 15.3, MCA, CA 459, CASA, and Truquant BR, are secreted products of the polymorphic MUC1 gene, and are used as diagnostic tools in patients with breast cancer. In clinical practice the measurement of the levels of these markers in the blood can give important information on the tumor's response to treatment and its biological behavior during disease monitoring. Since the marker levels reflect the activity of the tumor, it is important to know all factors influencing the production/secretion and the blood concentrations of MUC1 mucin. Recent findings suggest that MUC1 gene expression is regulated by steroid hormones and other substances present in the serum. Such observations are very important not only because of their biological significance but also for their clinical implications, as one approach to breast cancer therapy is based on chemical hormone manipulation. Nevertheless, we have preliminarily demonstrated that endocrine treatment in breast cancer patients does not influence the circulating CA 15.3 serum levels, so changes in marker levels are related only to the clinical evolution of the tumor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Minisatellite Repeats
  • Mucin-1 / biosynthesis
  • Mucin-1 / genetics*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Hormones
  • Mucin-1