A gene expression signature from human breast cancer cells with acquired hormone independence identifies MYC as a mediator of antiestrogen resistance

Todd W. Miller, Justin M. Balko, Zara Ghazoui, Anita Dunbier, Helen Anderson, Mitch Dowsett, Ana M. González-Angulo, Gordon Mills, William R. Miller, Huiyun Wu, Yu Shyr, Carlos L. Arteaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Although most patients with estrogen receptor α (ER)-positive breast cancer initially respond to endocrine therapy, many ultimately develop resistance to antiestrogens. However, mechanisms of antiestrogen resistance and biomarkers predictive of such resistance are underdeveloped. Experimental Design: We adapted four ER+ human breast cancer cell lines to grow in an estrogen-depleted medium. A gene signature of estrogen independence was developed by comparing expression profiles of long-term estrogen-deprived (LTED) cells to their parental counterparts. We evaluated the ability of the LTED signature to predict tumor response to neoadjuvant therapy with an aromatase inhibitor and disease outcome following adjuvant tamoxifen. We utilized Gene Set Analysis (GSA) of LTED cell gene expression profiles and a loss-of-function approach to identify pathways causally associated with resistance to endocrine therapy. Results: The LTED gene expression signature was predictive of high tumor cell proliferation following neoadjuvant therapy with anastrozole and letrozole, each in different patient cohorts. This signature was also predictive of poor recurrence-free survival in two studies of patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen. Bioinformatic interrogation of expression profiles in LTED cells revealed a signature of MYC activation. The MYC activation signature and high MYC protein levels were both predictive of poor outcome following tamoxifen therapy. Finally, knockdown of MYC inhibited LTED cell growth. Conclusions: A gene expression signature derived from ER+ breast cancer cells with acquired hormone independence predicted tumor response to aromatase inhibitors and associated with clinical markers of resistance to tamoxifen. Activation of the MYC pathway was associated with this resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2024-2034
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Estrogen Receptor Modulators
Transcriptome
Estrogens
Hormones
Breast Neoplasms
Tamoxifen
Estrogen Receptors
Aromatase Inhibitors
Neoadjuvant Therapy
letrozole
Biomarkers
Neoplasms
Computational Biology
Genes
Research Design
Therapeutics
Cell Proliferation
Recurrence
Cell Line
Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

A gene expression signature from human breast cancer cells with acquired hormone independence identifies MYC as a mediator of antiestrogen resistance. / Miller, Todd W.; Balko, Justin M.; Ghazoui, Zara; Dunbier, Anita; Anderson, Helen; Dowsett, Mitch; González-Angulo, Ana M.; Mills, Gordon; Miller, William R.; Wu, Huiyun; Shyr, Yu; Arteaga, Carlos L.

In: Clinical Cancer Research, Vol. 17, No. 7, 01.04.2011, p. 2024-2034.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Miller, TW, Balko, JM, Ghazoui, Z, Dunbier, A, Anderson, H, Dowsett, M, González-Angulo, AM, Mills, G, Miller, WR, Wu, H, Shyr, Y & Arteaga, CL 2011, 'A gene expression signature from human breast cancer cells with acquired hormone independence identifies MYC as a mediator of antiestrogen resistance', Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 17, no. 7, pp. 2024-2034. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2567
Miller, Todd W. ; Balko, Justin M. ; Ghazoui, Zara ; Dunbier, Anita ; Anderson, Helen ; Dowsett, Mitch ; González-Angulo, Ana M. ; Mills, Gordon ; Miller, William R. ; Wu, Huiyun ; Shyr, Yu ; Arteaga, Carlos L. / A gene expression signature from human breast cancer cells with acquired hormone independence identifies MYC as a mediator of antiestrogen resistance. In: Clinical Cancer Research. 2011 ; Vol. 17, No. 7. pp. 2024-2034.
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AU - Balko, Justin M.

AU - Ghazoui, Zara

AU - Dunbier, Anita

AU - Anderson, Helen

AU - Dowsett, Mitch

AU - González-Angulo, Ana M.

AU - Mills, Gordon

AU - Miller, William R.

AU - Wu, Huiyun

AU - Shyr, Yu

AU - Arteaga, Carlos L.

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N2 - Purpose: Although most patients with estrogen receptor α (ER)-positive breast cancer initially respond to endocrine therapy, many ultimately develop resistance to antiestrogens. However, mechanisms of antiestrogen resistance and biomarkers predictive of such resistance are underdeveloped. Experimental Design: We adapted four ER+ human breast cancer cell lines to grow in an estrogen-depleted medium. A gene signature of estrogen independence was developed by comparing expression profiles of long-term estrogen-deprived (LTED) cells to their parental counterparts. We evaluated the ability of the LTED signature to predict tumor response to neoadjuvant therapy with an aromatase inhibitor and disease outcome following adjuvant tamoxifen. We utilized Gene Set Analysis (GSA) of LTED cell gene expression profiles and a loss-of-function approach to identify pathways causally associated with resistance to endocrine therapy. Results: The LTED gene expression signature was predictive of high tumor cell proliferation following neoadjuvant therapy with anastrozole and letrozole, each in different patient cohorts. This signature was also predictive of poor recurrence-free survival in two studies of patients treated with adjuvant tamoxifen. Bioinformatic interrogation of expression profiles in LTED cells revealed a signature of MYC activation. The MYC activation signature and high MYC protein levels were both predictive of poor outcome following tamoxifen therapy. Finally, knockdown of MYC inhibited LTED cell growth. Conclusions: A gene expression signature derived from ER+ breast cancer cells with acquired hormone independence predicted tumor response to aromatase inhibitors and associated with clinical markers of resistance to tamoxifen. Activation of the MYC pathway was associated with this resistance.

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