Estrogen receptor mutations and functional consequences for breast cancer

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Sep;26(9):467-76. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2015.06.007. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


A significant number of estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive breast tumors develop resistance to endocrine therapy and recur with metastatic disease. Several mechanisms of endocrine resistance have been proposed, including genetic alterations that lead to ERs with altered protein sequence. By altering the conformation of the protein and increasing the interaction with coactivators, point mutations in ESR1, the gene encoding ERα, promote an active form of the receptor in the absence of hormone that assists tumor cells to evade hormonal treatments. Recent studies have confirmed that ESR1 point mutations frequently occur in metastatic breast tumors that are refractory to endocrine therapy, and suggest the development of novel strategies that may be more effective in controlling ER signaling and benefit patients with recurrent and metastatic disease.

Keywords: breast cancer; endocrine therapy; estrogen receptor mutations; metastasis; resistance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Receptors, Estrogen / genetics*


  • ESR1 protein, human
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Receptors, Estrogen