Antiestrogens: Mechanisms and actions in target cells

Benita S. Katzenellenbogen, Monica M. Montano, Pascale Le Goff, David J. Schodin, W. Lee Kraus, Bhavna Bhardwaj, Nariaki Fujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antiestrogens, acting via the estrogen receptor (ER) evoke conformational changes in the ER and inhibit the effects of estrogens as well as exerting anti-growth factor activities. Although the binding of estrogens and antiestrogens is mutually competitive, studies with ER mutants indicate that some of the contact sites of estrogens and antiestrogens are likely different. Some mutations in the hormone-binding domain of the ER and deletions of C-terminal regions result in ligand discrimination mutants, i.e. receptors that are differentially altered in their ability to bind and/or mediate the actions of estrogens vs antiestrogens. Studies in a variety of cell lines and with different promoters indicate marked cell context- and promoter-dependence in the actions of antiestrogens and variant ERs. In several cell systems, estrogens and protein kinase activators such as cAMP synergize to enhance the transcriptional activity of the ER in a promoter-specific manner. In addition, cAMP changes the agonist/antagonist balance of tamoxifen-like antiestrogens, increasing their agonistic activity and reducing their efficacy in reversing estrogen actions. Estrogens, and antiestrogens to a lesser extent, as well as protein kinase activators and growth factors increase phosphorylation of the ER and/or proteins involved in the ER-specific response pathway. These changes in phosphorylation alter the biological effectiveness of the ER. Multiple interactions among different cellular signal transduction systems are involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and gene expression by estrogens and antiestrogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-393
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-6
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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