ERβ Sensitizes NSCLC to Chemotherapy by Regulating DNA Damage Response

Fotis Nikolos, Christoforos Thomas, Igor Bado, Jan Åke Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The expression of wild-type estrogen receptor β (ESR2/ERβ1) correlates with clinical outcome in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the molecular mechanism that accounts for this association is currently poorly understood. ERβ1 was previously linked to chemotherapy response in patients with breast cancer and in breast cancer cells. The effect of the receptor in NSCLC cells after chemotherapy treatment, a common remedy for advanced NSCLC, has not been studied. Here, upregulation of ERβ1 increases the sensitivity of NSCLC cells to treatment with doxorubicin and etoposide. This effect was primarily observed in p53-defecient NSCLC cells. In these cells, ERβ1 either enhanced G 2-M cell-cycle arrest by activating the checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) and altering downstream signaling or induced apoptosis. The expression of p63 target genes that control G 2-M checkpoint activation was altered by ERβ1 suggesting an ERβ1-p63 transcriptional cooperation in lung cancer cells that affects DNA damage response (DDR). These results suggest involvement of ERβ1 in the mechanism that regulates DNA damage response in NSCLC cells and support the potential predictive and therapeutic value of the receptor in clinical management of the disease. Implications: This study demonstrating the impact of ERβ1 on chemosensitivity of NSCLC cells suggests the predictive value of the receptor for successful response of tumors to chemotherapy and the potential benefit of chemotherapy-treated patients from the use of ER ligands. Mol Cancer Res; 16(2); 233-42. ©2017 AACR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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