The pleiotropic nature of estradiol, the main estrogen found in women, has been well described in the literature. Estradiol is positioned to play a unique role since it can respond to environmental, genetic and non-genetic cues to impact genetic expression and cellular signaling. In breast cancer, estradiol signaling has a dual effect, promoting or inhibiting cancer cell growth. The potential impact of estradiol on tumorigenesis depends on the molecular and cellular characteristics of the breast cancer cell. In this review, we provide a broad survey discussing the cellular and molecular consequences of estrogen signaling in breast cancer. First, we review the structure of the classical estrogen receptors and resultant transcriptional (genomic) and non-transcriptional (non-genomic) signaling. We then discuss the nature of estradiol signaling in breast cancer including the specific receptors that initiate these signaling cascades as well as potential outcomes, such as cancer growth, proliferation and angiogenesis. Finally, we examine cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the dimorphic effect of estrogen signaling in breast cancer.
- estrogen receptors
- breast cancers
- ©2016 The Author(s)
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