Estrogen sulfotransferases in breast and endometrial cancers

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Feb:1155:88-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04113.x.


Estrogen sulfotransferase is significantly more active in the normal breast cell (e.g., Human 7) than in the cancer cell (e.g., MCF-7). The data suggest that in breast cancer sulfoconjugated activity is carried out by another enzyme, the SULT1A, which acts at high concentration of the substrates. In breast cancer cells sulfotransferase (SULT) activity can be stimulated by various progestins: medrogestone, promegestone, and nomegestrol acetate, as well as by tibolone and its metabolites. SULT activities can also be controlled by other substances including phytoestrogens, celecoxib, flavonoids (e.g., quercetin, resveratrol), and isoflavones. SULT expression was localized in breast cancer cells, which can be stimulated by promegestone and correlated with the increase of the enzyme activity. The estrogen sulfotransferase (SULT1E1), which acts at nanomolar concentration of estradiol, can inactivate most of this hormone present in the normal breast; however, in the breast cancer cells, the sulfotransferase denoted as SULT1A1 is mainly present, and this acts at micromolar concentrations of E(2). A correlation was postulated among breast cancer cell proliferation, the effect of various progestins, and sulfotransferase stimulation. In conclusion, it is suggested that factors involved in the stimulation of the estrogen sulfotransferases could provide new possibilities for the treatment of patients with hormone-dependent breast and endometrial cancers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Endometrium / enzymology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*


  • Sulfotransferases
  • estrone sulfotransferase