Minireview: The androgen receptor in breast tissues: growth inhibitor, tumor suppressor, oncogene?

Mol Endocrinol. 2012 Aug;26(8):1252-67. doi: 10.1210/me.2012-1107. Epub 2012 Jun 28.


Androgen receptor (AR) signaling exerts an antiestrogenic, growth-inhibitory influence in normal breast tissue, and this role may be sustained in estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive luminal breast cancers. Conversely, AR signaling may promote growth of a subset of ERα-negative, AR-positive breast cancers with a molecular apocrine phenotype. Understanding the molecular mechanisms whereby androgens can elicit distinct gene expression programs and opposing proliferative responses in these two breast cancer phenotypes is critical to the development of new therapeutic strategies to target the AR in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Growth Inhibitors / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Human / growth & development
  • Mammary Glands, Human / metabolism*
  • Oncogenes
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Androgens
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Androgen