Activation of estrogen signaling pathways collaborates with loss of Brca1 to promote development of ERalpha-negative and ERalpha-positive mammary preneoplasia and cancer

Oncogene. 2008 Jan 31;27(6):794-802. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210674. Epub 2007 Jul 23.


BRCA1 can regulate estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) activity. This study tested the hypotheses that Brca1 loss in mammary epithelium alters the estrogenic growth response and that exposure to increased estrogen or ERalpha collaborates with Brca1 deficiency to accelerate preneoplasia and cancer development. Longer ductal extension was found in mammary glands of Brca1(f/f;MMTV-Cre) mice during puberty as compared to wild-type mice. Terminal end bud differentiation was impaired in Brca1 mutant mice with preservation of prolactin-induced alveolar differentiation. Exogenous estrogen stimulated an abnormal sustained increase in mammary epithelial cell proliferation and the appearance of ERalpha-negative preneoplasia in postpubertal Brca1 mutant mice. Carcinogenesis was investigated using Brca1(f/f;MMTV-Cre) mice hemizygous for p53. Exogenous estrogen increased the percentage of mice with multiple hyperplastic alveolar nodules. Targeted conditional ERalpha overexpression in mammary epithelial cells of mice that were Brca1 mutant and hemizygous for p53 increased the percentage of mice exhibiting multiple hyperplastic nodules, invasive mammary cancers and cancer multiplicity. Significantly more than half of the preneoplasia and cancers were ERalpha negative even as their initiation was promoted by ERalpha overexpression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / analysis
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism*
  • Estrogens / metabolism*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics
  • Precancerous Conditions / metabolism
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Estrogens