MMP-2 and MMP-9 activity is regulated by estradiol and tamoxifen in cultured human breast cancer cells

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Sex steroids play a dominant role in breast carcinogenesis by still largely unknown mechanisms. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been extensively studied in the context of matrix biology but it is not known if sex steroids affect MMPs in breast cancer. MMPs degrade extracellular matrix components enabling tumor cell invasion and metastasis, but may also regulate the bioavailability of a variety of biologically active molecules such as anti-angiogenic fragments, which may be beneficial for the host. This study shows that estradiol and tamoxifen regulate MMP-2 and MMP-9 as well as TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 in ER + PR + human breast cancer cells. The main finding was a significant effect of tamoxifen exposure, which increased intracellular and secreted protein levels whereas estradiol induced a significant decrease. The overall net effect of these alterations resulted in increased MMP-2/MMP-9 activity by tamoxifen treatment, which also significantly increased extracellular endostatin levels. We conclude that estradiol and tamoxifen have the ability to modulate MMP-2/MMP-9 activity, and endostatin levels in human breast cancer in vitro. The results suggest a possible role of MMP modulation associated with a generation of anti-angiogenic fragments in the therapeutic effect of tamoxifen in breast cancer.

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