Epigenetic up-regulation of CXCR4 and CXCL12 expression by 17 beta-estradiol and tamoxifen is associated with formation of DNA methyltransferase 3B4 splice variant in Ishikawa endometrial adenocarcinoma cells

FEBS Lett. 2007 Apr 3;581(7):1441-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2007.02.070. Epub 2007 Mar 7.


Increased risk for the development of endometrial cancer has been associated with unopposed oestrogen exposure, hyperoestrogenic factors, and a history of breast cancer treated long-term with tamoxifen (Tam). Stromal cell-derived factor-1, currently named as CXCL12, is a chemokine that, via binding to CXCR4 receptor, activates several downstream effectors and signalling pathways responsible for proliferation, survival, and migration of cancer cells. We observed that 17beta-estradiol (E2) and tamoxifen (Tam) increase the expression of CXCR4 and CXCL12 transcripts and proteins in oestrogen receptor positive (ER(+)) but not in negative (ER(-)02) Ishikawa endometrial adenocarcinoma (ISH) cell lines. However, the demethylating agent 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine profoundly elevated CXCR4 and CXCL12 expression in both ER(+) and ER(-)02 ISH cells. Bisulfite sequencing revealed that E2 and Tam up-regulate expression via demethylation of cytosine in the cytosine-guanosine dinucleotide island of CXCR4 and CXCL12 promoters. We also found that E2 and Tam significantly increased, for several hours, the expression of DNA methyltransferase 3B4 enzymatically inactive splice variant in ER(+) but not in ER(-)02 ISH cells. Our results suggest that E2 and Tam, through their ability for gene-transcription regulation, change the cellular milieu that maintains the hypermethylated stage of CpG islands of CXCR4 and CXCL12 promoters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / enzymology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / pharmacology*
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC / genetics*
  • Chemokines, CXC / metabolism
  • CpG Islands / drug effects
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / genetics
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / genetics*
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / metabolism
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • CXCL12 protein, human
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • Tamoxifen
  • Estradiol
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • DNA methyltransferase 3B