Expression of estrogen receptors, androgen receptor and steroid receptor coactivator-3 is negatively correlated to the differentiation of astrocytic tumors

Cancer Epidemiol. 2014 Jun;38(3):291-7. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2014.03.001. Epub 2014 Mar 27.


Astrocytic tumors are the most common primary brain tumors. It has been reported that androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptors alpha (ERα) and beta (ERβ) and their coactivator SRC-1 and SRC-3 are involved in the regulation of the growth and development of many tumors, but their expression profiles and significances in the astrocytic tumors remain largely unknown. In this study, the expression of AR, ERs, and SRCs, and the possible roles of them in astrocytic neoplasm were evaluated and compared to normal brain tissues by nickel-intensified immunohistochemistry with tissue microarrays. The results showed that there were no age- or gender-differences regarding to the levels of these receptors or coactivators in astrocytic or normal brain tissues. In the high-grade astrocytic tissue, the levels of AR, ERs and SRC-3 were significantly decreased when compared to the low-grade astrocytic tissues, but the levels of SRC-1 remain unchanged. Correlation analysis revealed that the levels of AR, ERs and SRC-3 were negatively correlated to tumor differentiation, and the levels of SRC-3 were positively correlated to that of ERα. Furthermore, the decreased levels of SRC-3 were associated with an increase of ERβ in astrocytic tumors when compared to that of normal brain tissues. These above results indicate a combination of decreased expression of ERs, AR and SRC-3 but not SRC-1 may be involved in the tumorigenesis of gliomas, ERα/SRC-3 axis may play central role in the regulation these tumors.

Keywords: Androgen receptor; Astrocytomas; Estrogen receptor; Glioblastoma; Steroid receptor coactivator-1; Steroid receptor coactivator-3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 1 / biosynthesis
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 3 / biosynthesis*
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Androgen / biosynthesis*
  • Sex Factors


  • ESR1 protein, human
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • NCOA3 protein, human
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 1
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 3