We have previously demonstrated that estrogen receptor (ER) alpha (ESR1) increases proliferation of adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) through both an estrogen-dependent and -independent (induced by IGF-II/IGF1R pathways) manner. Then, the use of tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), appears effective in reducing ACC growth in vitro and in vivo. However, tamoxifen not only exerts antiestrogenic activity, but also acts as full agonist on the G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER). Aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a non-steroidal GPER agonist G-1 in modulating ACC cell growth. We found that G-1 is able to exert a growth inhibitory effect on H295R cells both in vitro and, as xenograft model, in vivo. Treatment of H295R cells with G-1 induced cell cycle arrest, DNA damage and cell death by the activation of the intrinsic apoptotic mechanism. These events required sustained extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 activation. Silencing of GPER by a specific shRNA partially reversed G-1-mediated cell growth inhibition without affecting ERK activation. These data suggest the existence of G-1 activated but GPER-independent effects that remain to be clarified. In conclusion, this study provides a rational to further study G-1 mechanism of action in order to include this drug as a treatment option to the limited therapy of ACC.
- Adrenocortical cancer
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