Development, characterization, and applications of a novel estrogen receptor beta monoclonal antibody

J Cell Biochem. 2012 Feb;113(2):711-23. doi: 10.1002/jcb.23443.


The role of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in breast cancer has been studied extensively, and its protein expression is prognostic and a primary determinant of endocrine sensitivity. However, much less is known about the role of ERβ and its relevance remains unclear due to the publication of conflicting reports. Here, we provide evidence that much of this controversy may be explained by variability in antibody sensitivity and specificity and describe the development, characterization, and potential applications of a novel monoclonal antibody targeting full-length human ERβ and its splice variant forms. Specifically, we demonstrate that a number of commercially available ERβ antibodies are insensitive for ERβ and exhibit significant cross-reaction with ERα. However, our newly developed MC10 ERβ antibody is shown to be highly specific and sensitive for detection of full-length ERβ and its variant forms. Strong and variable staining patterns for endogenous levels of ERβ protein were detected in normal human tissues and breast tumors using the MC10 antibody. Importantly, ERβ was shown to be expressed in a limited cohort of both ERα positive and ERα negative breast tumors. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the use of poorly validated ERβ antibodies is likely to explain much of the controversy in the field with regard to the biological relevance of ERβ in breast cancer. The use of the MC10 antibody, in combination with highly specific antibodies targeting only full-length ERβ, is likely to provide additional discriminatory features in breast cancers that may be useful in predicting response to therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived / biosynthesis*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / immunology*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / immunology*
  • Estrogen Receptor beta / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Organ Specificity
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / immunology
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Testis / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Protein Isoforms