HER-2/neu × aromatase double transgenic mice model: The effects of aromatase overexpression on mammary tumorigenesis

Rajeshwar Rao Tekmal, Hareesh B. Nair, Rao P. Perla, Nameer Kirma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A majority of breast cancers are hormone-responsive, and require estrogen for growth, and respond to hormonal therapy that blocks estrogen receptor action. Breast tumors with low levels of or completely lacking estrogen receptor fail to respond to antiestrogen therapy yet require estrogen for tumor initiation. To address the importance of local estrogen in oncogene-mediated breast tumorigenesis, we have crossed MMTV-aromatase with MMTV-HER2/neu and examined the incidence of breast cancer in double transgenic mice in comparison with parental strains. Double transgenic mice show normal mammary development and express both transgenes at similar levels to that of parental strains. Tumor incidence in double transgenic mice (<5%) decreased compared to HER2/neu mice (>65%). In addition to a significant decrease in tumorigenesis, these mice expressed ERα as well as high levels of ERβ along with decreased levels of cyclin D1 and phosphorylated pRb among other changes. Furthermore, experiments using THC (ERα-agonist and ERβ-antagonist) clearly demonstrate the critical role of ERβ in HER2/neu-mediated tumorigenesis. These studies provide the first genetic evidence that estrogen receptor, mainly ERβ than ERα and its dependent changes play an important role in regulating mammary tumorigenesis. These findings provide further evidence for development and testing of novel therapeutic approaches based on selective regulation of estrogen receptors (ERα and β)-dependent actions for the treatment and prevention of breast cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-5
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Aromatase
  • HER-2/neu
  • Hormonal carcinogenesis
  • Mammary tumorigenesis
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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