Estrogen receptor-beta expression in human laryngeal carcinoma: correlation with the expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition specific biomarkers

Oncol Rep. 2009 Nov;22(5):1063-8. doi: 10.3892/or_00000537.


Laryngeal carcinoma is a malignancy of the respiratory tract with a significantly higher male to female ratio, suggesting involvement of gender-depended factors in the pathogenesis. Estrogen influences the pathological processes of hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast, prostate and ovarian cancers, through its receptors, estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-alpha) and -beta (ER-beta). While ER-alpha promotes cell proliferation, recent studies indicate that ER-beta is protective against carcinoma progression into an invasive state. However, it is unclear whether ER-beta plays a role in laryngeal cancer. In the present study we examined the expression of ER-beta in 80 invasive human squamous laryngeal carcinomas by immunohistochemistry and correlated ER-beta expression with markers of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). ER-beta was expressed in 83% of tumour specimens where it was localized in the nuclei of tumour cells. The expression of ER-beta correlated positively with the maintenance of E-cadherin and beta-catenin at cell junctions and negatively with the loss of E-cadherin, nuclear translocation of beta-catenin and increased TNM stage. We concluded that estrogen receptor-beta expression is documented in laryngeal cancer indicating a possible role in the pathogenesis of this malignancy. It is suggested that ER-beta could protect tumour cells from acquiring aggressive EMT features such as E-cadherin downregulation and nuclear beta-catenin activation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Vimentin / metabolism
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Vimentin
  • beta Catenin