ERb Sensitizes NSCLC to Chemotherapy by Regulating DNA Damage Response

Fotis Nikolos, Christoforos Thomas, Igor Bado, Jan-Ake Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The expression of wild-type estrogen receptor b (ESR2/ERb1) 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. ERb1 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 ERb1 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, ERb1 either enhanced G2–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 G2–M checkpoint activation was altered by ERb1 suggesting an ERb1–p63 transcriptional cooperation in lung cancer cells that affects DNA damage response (DDR). These results suggest involvement of ERb1 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 ERb1 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.

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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