Supplementary Figure 3. MCF-7:WS8 cells were treated with Dex (A), MPA (B), or NETA (C), at concentrations ranging from 10-10 M to 10-6 M alone or in combination with 1µM 4-OHT, 1µM ICI 182,780, or 1µM RU486 for seven days, and DNA was quantified.
ARTICLE ABSTRACTHormone replacement therapy (HRT) is widely used to manage menopausal symptoms in women and can be comprised of an estrogen alone or an estrogen combined with a progestin. The Women's Health Initiative demonstrated in their randomized trials that estrogen alone HRT decreases the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, whereas combined estrogen plus a progestin (medroxyprogesterone acetate, MPA) HRT increases this risk. Long-term estrogen-deprived MCF-7:5C cells were used to model the postmenopausal breast cancer cell environment. MPA is able to modify E2-induced apoptosis in MCF-7:5C cells. MPA, similar to dexamethasone, increases glucocorticoid receptor (GR) transcriptional activity, increases SGK1, a GR target gene, and can be blocked by RU486 (an antiglucocorticoid), suggesting that it functions through the GR. Norethindrone acetate (NETA), another progestin used in HRT, acts like an estrogen at high doses, upregulating estrogen receptor target genes and generating apoptosis in MCF-7:5C cells. The data suggest that women taking HRT comprising an estrogen plus MPA may have an increased risk of breast cancer due to MPA acting as a glucocorticoid and blunting E2-induced apoptosis in this environment. Therefore, perhaps other approved progestins (e.g., NETA) should be considered as alternatives to MPA. Cancer Res; 74(23); 7060–8. ©2014 AACR.