Estrogen receptor β expression and colorectal cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background

Estrogen receptor β (ERβ) is a potential tumor-suppressor gene in colorectal cancer (CRC). This hypothesis is supported by clinical and laboratory observations.

Aim

In this meta-analysis, we looked at studies that investigated the relationship between ERβ protein expression and CRC, comparing the lesion with normal adjacent mucosa.

Methods

English medical literature searches were performed for ERβ expression in patients with CRC, tumor tissue versus normal mucosa. Searches were performed up to 31 May 2015, using MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and CENTRAL. Meta-analysis was carried out using Comprehensive Meta-analysis Software. Pooled odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated and ERβ expression was compared in individual studies using the fixed-effects model.

Results

The odds ratio of ERβ expression was 0.216 (95% confidence interval 0.152–0.307, P<0.0001), lower in cancer tissue than normal mucosa. Funnel plot did not indicate a significant publication bias. There was no significant heterogeneity in the studies included: Q=5.897, d.f.(Q)=9, I2=0.000, P=0.750.

Conclusion

In this meta-analysis, we confirm the observation of decreased ERβ expression in CRC. Our results support the hypothesis of ERβ being a tumor-suppressor gene in the large bowel, and the ERβ protein protects against carcinogenesis and development of CRC when activated by estrogen. Further studies are needed to examine the potential of selective/specific ligands to activate ERβ without the side effects found with estrogen and without activating ERα.

Summary

In this meta-analysis, we looked at studies that investigated the relationship between CRC and ERβ expression in the tumor and normal mucosa of CRC patients. English medical literature searches were performed for studies comparing ERβ expression in the cancer and normal colonic mucosa in patients with CRC. Meta-analysis was carried out, pooled odds ratios were calculated, and ERβ expression was compared in individual studies.

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