Until recently, the study of nuclear receptor (NR) function in breast cancer biology has been largely limited to estrogen and progesterone receptors. The development of reliable gene expression arrays, real-time quantitative RT-PCR, and immunohistochemical techniques for studying NR superfamily members in primary human breast cancers has now revealed the presence and potential importance of several additional NRs in the biology of breast cancer. These include receptors for steroid hormones (including androgens and corticosteroids), fat-soluble vitamins A and D, fatty acids, and xenobiotic lipids derived from diet. It is now clear that after NR activation, both genomic and non-genomic NR pathways can coordinately activate growth factor signaling pathways. Advances in our understanding of both NR functional networks and epithelial cell growth factor signaling pathways have revealed a frequent interplay between NR and epithelial cell growth factor family signaling that is clinically relevant to breast cancer. Understanding how growth factor receptors and their downstream kinases are activated by NRs (and vice-versa) is a central goal for maximizing treatment opportunities in breast cancer. In addition to the estrogen receptor, it is predicted that modulating the activity of other NRs will soon provide novel prevention and treatment approaches for breast cancer patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology