Cyclin D1 expression is dependent on estrogen receptor function in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004 Sep;92(1-2):63-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2004.05.005.


The development of resistance to tamoxifen, the most common antiestrogen used in the treatment of breast cancer, is a frequent and severe clinical problem. Tamoxifen-resistant tumors are still capable of responding to other hormonal therapies such as those that downregulate estrogen receptor expression. Mechanisms leading to acquisition of tamoxifen-resistant but hormone-sensitive growth are not completely understood. In tamoxifen-sensitive breast cancer cells, tamoxifen inhibits, whereas estrogen induces, expression of cyclin D1, a key cell cycle regulatory protein. Ectopic expression of cyclin D1 can lead to antiestrogen resistance. Thus, to determine whether cyclin D1 is involved in the growth of tamoxifen-resistant cells, we developed several tamoxifen-resistant variants from MCF-7 cells. These variants grow in the absence of estrogen or in the presence of tamoxifen, but their growth is inhibited by estrogen receptor downregulators. We show here that cyclin D1 expression is maintained at comparable levels in all tamoxifen-resistant variants, whereas pS2, another estrogen-regulated protein, is not. The addition of physiological levels of estrogen further stimulates cyclin D1 expression and proliferation. In contrast, treatment with estrogen receptor downregulators decreases cyclin D1 expression and proliferation. Thus, changes in cyclin D1 expression upon second-line hormonal therapy may predict hormonal sensitivity of tamoxifen-resistant tumors. These studies suggest that estrogen receptor mediates cyclin D1 expression and growth of tamoxifen-resistant tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclin D1 / biosynthesis*
  • Cyclin D1 / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tamoxifen
  • Cyclin D1