Purpose: There is compelling evidence to suggest that drugs that function as pure estrogen receptor (ER-α) antagonists, or that downregulate the expression of ER-α, would have clinical use in the treatment of advanced tamoxifen- and aromatase-resistant breast cancer. Although such compounds are currently in development, we reasoned, based on our understanding of ER-α pharmacology, that there may already exist among the most recently developed selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM) compounds that would have usage as breast cancer therapeutics. Thus, our objective was to identify among available SERMs those with unique pharmacologic activities and to evaluate their potential clinical use with predictive models of advanced breast cancer. Experimental Design: A validated molecular profiling technology was used to classify clinically relevant SERMs based on their impact on ER-α conformation. The functional consequences of these observed mechanistic differences on (i) gene expression, (ii) receptor stability, and (iii) activity in cellular and animal models of advanced endocrine-resistant breast cancer were assessed. Results: The high-affinity SERM bazedoxifene was shown to function as a pure ER-α antagonist in cellular models of breast cancer and effectively inhibited the growth of both tamoxifen-sensitive and -resistant breast tumor xenografts. Interestingly, bazedoxifene induced a unique conformational change in ER-α that resulted in its proteasomal degradation, although the latter activity was dispensable for its antagonist efficacy. Conclusion: Bazedoxifene was recently approved for use in the European Union for the treatment of osteoporosis and thus may represent a near-term therapeutic option for patients with advanced breast cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research