Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) originates from parafollicular C cells. Estrogen receptor β (ERβ) expression was detected in normal parafollicular C cells and MTC tumor tissue, but ERα expression in MTC tumors still remains undetermined. The appearance and loss of ERα or ERβ expression has been known to play a role in the development and progression of many human cancers. We performed immunohistochemical studies of ERα, EROβ, and Ki67, a mitotic index, in 11 human MTC tissue samples. ERCα was detected in 10 cases (91%), and ERβ expression was observed in 8 cases (72.7%). A majority (8/10) of ERα-positive tumors showing ERβ Ki67 expression was detected in three cases (27.3%). Neither clinical parameters nor tumor node metastasis (TNM) tumor staging was correlated with the positivity for ERs or Ki67. To investigate the biological role of each ER, we used ER-negative MTC TT cells and adenoviral vectors carrying ERα (Ad-ERα), ERβ (Ad-ERβ), estrogen response element (ER-E)-Luc (Ad-ER-E-Luc), and activator protein 1 (AP1)-Luc (Ad-AP1-Luc). Estrogen stimulated and anti-estrogen, ICI 182 780, suppressed ERE reporter activity in TT cells expressing ERα or ERβ, suggesting that both ERs use the same classical ERE-mediated pathway. Ad-ERα infection stimulated TT cell growth; in contrast, Ad-ERβ infection suppressed their growth. Apoptosis was detected in Ad-ERβ-infected TT cells. Estrogen and anti-estrogen suppressed AP1 activity in Ad-ERα-infected cells, whereas upon Ad-ERβ infection estrogen further stimulated AP1 activity which in turn is suppressed by anti-estrogen, suggesting that each ER acts dfferendy through a non-ER-Emediated pathway. Our results suggest that ERα and ERα may play different roles in MTC tumor growth and progression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism