The G protein-coupled receptor GPR30 mediates the proliferative effects induced by 17beta-estradiol and hydroxytamoxifen in endometrial cancer cells

Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Mar;20(3):631-46. doi: 10.1210/me.2005-0280. Epub 2005 Oct 20.


The growth of both normal and transformed epithelial cells of the female reproductive system is stimulated by estrogens, mainly through the activation of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), which is a ligand-regulated transcription factor. The selective ER modulator tamoxifen (TAM) has been widely used as an ER antagonist in breast tumor; however, long-term treatment is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer. To provide new insights into the potential mechanisms involved in the agonistic activity exerted by TAM in the uterus, we evaluated the potential of 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT), the active metabolite of TAM, to transactivate wild-type ERalpha and its splice variant expressed in Ishikawa and HEC1A endometrial tumor cells, respectively. OHT was able to antagonize only the activation of ERalpha by 17beta-estradiol (E2) in Ishikawa cells, whereas it up-regulated c-fos expression in a rapid manner similar to E2 and independently of ERalpha in both cell lines. This stimulation occurred through the G protein-coupled receptor named GPR30 and required Src-related and epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase activities, along with the activation of both ERK1/2 and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT pathways. Most importantly, OHT, like E2, stimulated the proliferation of Ishikawa as well as HEC1A cells. Transfecting a GPR30 antisense expression vector in both endometrial cancer cell lines, OHT was no longer able to induce growth effects, whereas the proliferative response to E2 was completely abrogated only in HEC1A cells. Furthermore, in the presence of the inhibitors of MAPK and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways, PD 98059 and wortmannin, respectively, E2 and OHT did not elicit growth stimulation. Our data demonstrate a new mode of action of E2 and OHT in endometrial cancer cells, contributing to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in their uterine agonistic activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androstadienes / pharmacology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / drug effects
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Splicing
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / drug effects
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / drug effects
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / pharmacology*
  • Tamoxifen / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Up-Regulation
  • Wortmannin


  • Androstadienes
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Flavonoids
  • GPER1 protein, human
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
  • Tamoxifen
  • afimoxifene
  • Estradiol
  • 2-(2-amino-3-methoxyphenyl)-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • Wortmannin