Gene expression of ERbeta isoforms in laser microdissected human breast cancers: implications for gene expression analyses

Michele Cummings, James Iremonger, Caroline A Green, Abeer M Shaaban, Valerie Speirs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Despite many published studies on ERbeta, progress towards understanding its role in breast cancer remains slow. This is largely due to discordant data between mRNA and protein studies as well as failure to take into account the biologically distinct ERbeta isoforms and their heterogeneous expression profile.

METHODS: We compared expression of ERbeta1, -2 and -5 genes in HB2 and MCF-7 breast cell lines, primary breast fibroblasts (n=5) and whole tissue and laser microdissected epithelial and stromal cells obtained from 25 human breast tumours.

RESULTS: Our study shows that the level of gene expression of ERbeta isoforms depends on the cell population within a given tumour and varies dramatically in different cellular compartments. This has implications for gene expression analyses and could explain some of the contradictory data published to date, rendering "grind and bind" analyses of ERbeta uninformative.

CONCLUSION: With the technology now available, we suggest a more refined approach be adopted to help resolve some of the controversy surrounding ERbeta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-473
Number of pages7
JournalCellular oncology : the official journal of the International Society for Cellular Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009



  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Estrogen Receptor beta
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Microdissection
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Stromal Cells
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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