Modulation of aromatase expression by BRCA1: A possible link to tissue-specific tumor suppression

Yanfen Hu, Sagar Ghosh, Asma Amleh, Wei Yue, Yunzhe Lu, Adam Katz, Rong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mutations in BRCA1 increase risks of familial breast and ovarian cancers, particularly among premenopausal women. While BRCA1 plays an active role in DNA repair, this function alone may not be sufficient to explain why BRCA1-associated tumors predominantly occur in estrogen-responsive tissues. Aromatase is the rate-limiting enzyme in estrogen biosynthesis and a key target in breast cancer treatment. Aromatase expression in ovarian granulosa cells dictates levels of circulating estrogen in premenopausal women, and its aberrant overexpression in breast adipose tissues promotes breast cancer growth. Here, we show that BRCA1 modulates aromatase expression in ovarian granulosa cells and primary preadipocytes. The cyclic AMP-dependent expression of aromatase in ovarian granulosa cells is inversely correlated with the protein level of BRCA1. Importantly, transient knockdown of BRCA1 enhances aromatase expression in both ovarian granulosa cells and primary preadipocytes. We propose that BRCA1 deficiency in epithelial and certain nonepithelial cells may result in combined effects of aberrant estrogen biosynthesis and compromised DNA repair capability, which in turn may lead to specific cancers in the breast and ovary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8343-8348
Number of pages6
JournalOncogene
Volume24
Issue number56
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2005

Keywords

  • Aromatase
  • BRCA1
  • Estrogen biosynthesis
  • Ovarian granulosa cells
  • Preadipocytes
  • Tissue-specific tumor suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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