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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • EGFR ;
  • ERs;
  • estradiol;
  • heparan sulfate proteoglycans;
  • IGFR

Estradiol (E2)–estrogen receptor (ER) actions are implicated in initiation, growth and progression of hormone-dependent breast cancer. Crosstalk between ERs, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and/or insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) is critical for the observed resistance to endocrine therapies. Cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) are principal mediators of cancer cell properties and the E2–ER pathway as well as those activated by EGFR and IGFR have significant roles in regulating the expression of certain cell surface HSPGs, such as syndecan-2 (SDC-2), syndecan-4 (SDC-4) and glypican-1. In this study, we therefore evaluated the role of EGFR-IGFR signaling on the constitutive expression and E2-mediated expression of ERs and HSPGs as well as the effect of E2–ERs and IGFR/EGFR-mediated cell migration in ERα+ (MCF-7) and ERβ+ (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer cells using specific intracellular inhibitors of EGFR and IGFR. We report that the expression of ERα is mainly enhanced by IGFR, whereas ERβ expression is mainly coordinated by EGFR. Moreover, constitutive SDC-2 expression in ERα+ and ERβ+ cells is mainly mediated through the IGFR, whereas in ERα+ E2-treated cells EGFR is the active one. In contrast, SDC-4 expression is regulated by IGFR in the presence and absence of E2. E2 also seems to diminish the inhibitory effect of EGFR and IGFR inhibitors in breast cancer cell migration. These data suggest that the coordinated action of ERs with EGFR and/or IGFR is of crucial importance, providing potential targets for designing and developing novel multi-potent agents for endocrine therapies.