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Mechanisms of Resistance to Endocrine Therapy in Breast Cancer: Focus on Signaling Pathways, miRNAs and Genetically Based Resistance

Authors
Journal
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
1422-0067
Publisher
MDPI AG
Publication Date
Volume
14
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/ijms14010108
Keywords
  • Review
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy diagnosed in women. Approximately 70% of breast tumors express the estrogen receptor (ER). Tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are the most common and effective therapies for patients with ERα-positive breast cancer. Alone or combined with chemotherapy, tamoxifen significantly reduces disease progression and is associated with more favorable impact on survival in patients. Unfortunately, endocrine resistance occurs, either de novo or acquired during the course of the treatment. The mechanisms that contribute to hormonal resistance include loss or modification in the ERα expression, regulation of signal transduction pathways, altered expression of specific microRNAs, balance of co-regulatory proteins, and genetic polymorphisms involved in tamoxifen metabolic activity. Because of the clinical consequences of endocrine resistance, new treatment strategies are arising to make the cells sensitive to tamoxifen. Here, we will review the current knowledge on mechanisms of endocrine resistance in breast cancer cells. In addition, we will discuss novel therapeutic strategies to overcome such resistance. Undoubtedly, circumventing endocrine resistance should help to improve therapy for the benefit of breast cancer patients.

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