A novel in vivo model of tamoxifen-stimulated endometrial cancer was developed and the role of HER-2/neu investigated by using trasluzumab. Tamoxifen-stimulated tumors (ECC-1TAM) were growth stimulated by 17β-estradiol (E2), tamoxifen, or raloxifene. Trastuzumab inliibited growth of E2-stimulated ECC-1E2 tumors by 50% and tamoxifen-stimulated ECC-1TAM tumors by 100%. ECC-1 tumors expressed functional estrogen receptor α (ERα) as measured by induction of pS2 and c-myc mRNAs. E2 induced pS2 and c-myc mRNAs up to 40-fold in ECC-1E2 and ECC-1TAM. Tamoxifen induced pS2 and c-myc mRNAs up to 5-fold in ECC-1E2 tumors and up to 10-fold in ECC-TAM tumors. Trastuzumab blocked E2-induced pS2 mRNA (P < 0.01) in ECC-1E2 by 50% and tamoxifen-induced c-myc mRNA (P < 0.1) in ECC-1TAM tumors by 70%. Trastuzumab decreased phosphorylated and total HER-2/neu protein in ECC-1E2 and ECC-1TAM tumors. However, only phospho-ERK-1/2 and not phospfao-Akt protein was decreased by trastuzumab in tamoxifen-treated ECC-1TAM tumors. The insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) signaling pathway also activates extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK)-1/2 and could block the efficacy of trastuzumab in ECC-1E2 tumors. The results showed that IGF-I, IGF-IR mRNAs, and phosphoinsulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) protein were decreased in ECC-1TAM compared with ECC-1E2 tumors. The results show that trastuzumab is an effective therapy for both E2-stimulated and tamoxifen-stimulated endometrial cancer. The data suggest estrogenic activities of E2 and tamoxifen at ERα-regulated pS2 and c-myc genes are in part mediated by HER-2/neu. However, trastuzumab is a better growth inhibitor of ECC-1TAM tumors where there is diminished IGF-I signaling allowing for complete blockade of the downstream phospho-ERK-1/2 signal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research