Is the alternate oestrogen receptor more important than we thought?

Start Year: 2014
Finish Year: 2016
Chief Investigator: Dr Kara Britt
Grant Type: Novel Concept Awards
Institution: University of Melbourne

Tamoxifen is an effective breast cancer therapy for women whose breast cancers express a form of the oestrogen receptor (ER), called ERα. These women have a relatively good prognosis, with tamoxifen halving the risk of recurrence.

Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) on the other hand, are a subset of breast cancers that do not express ERα, or progesterone receptor, and erbB2/HER-2 receptors. TNBC are generally aggressive, resistant to existing treatments, such as Herceptin and tamoxifen, and are associated with a poor outcome.

However, recent studies have shown that some TNBC express a different form of ER called ERβ and respond well to tamoxifen treatment. This study will test how tamoxifen works in TNBC expressing ERβ in a move towards providing a treatment option and to improve outcomes for women with this subset of the disease.