Expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors in astrocytomas: a literature review

Cléciton Braga Tavares Francisca das Chagas Sheyla Almeida Gomes-Braga Danylo Rafhael Costa-Silva Carla Solange Escórcio-Dourado Umbelina Soares Borges Airton Mendes Conde-Junior Maria da Conceição Barros-Oliveira Emerson Brandão Sousa Lorena da Rocha Barros Luana Mota Martins Gil Facina Benedito Borges da-Silva About the authors

Abstract

Gliomas are the most common type of primary central nervous system neoplasm. Astrocytomas are the most prevalent type of glioma and these tumors may be influenced by sex steroid hormones. A literature review for the presence of estrogen and progesterone receptors in astrocytomas was conducted in the PubMed database using the following MeSH terms: “estrogen receptor beta” ORestrogen receptor alpha” OR “estrogen receptor antagonists” OR “progesterone receptors” OR “astrocytoma” OR “glioma” ORglioblastoma”. Among the 111 articles identified, 13 studies met our inclusion criteria. The majority of reports showed the presence of estrogen and progesterone receptors in astrocytomas. Overall, higher tumor grades were associated with decreased estrogen receptor expression and increased progesterone receptor expression.

Estrogen Receptor Alpha; Estrogen Receptor Beta; Progesterone Receptor; Astrocytoma


INTRODUCTION

Gliomas are the most common type of primary central nervous system tumor and astrocytomas are the most prevalent type of glioma. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these tumors may be classified into two types: low-grade or benign (grades 1 and 2) and high-grade or malignant (grades 3 and 4) (11. Pollack IF, Randall MS, Kristofik MP, Kelly RH, Selker RG, Vertosick FT Jr. Effect of tamoxifen on DNA synthesis and proliferation of human malignant glioma lines in vitro. Cancer Res. 1990;50(22):7134-8.,22. Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavenee WK, Burger PC, Jouvet A, et al. The 2007 WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Acta Neuropathol. 2007;114(2):97-109, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-0243-4.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-024...
).

High-grade glial tumors are the most common primary malignant tumors of the central nervous system in adults. Despite appropriate treatment with surgical excision, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the prognosis is poor (33. Patel S, Dibiase S, Meisenberg B, Flannery T, Patel A, Dhople A, et al. Phase I clinical trial assessing temozolomide and tamoxifen with concomitant radiotherapy for treatment of high-grade glioma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;82(2):739-42, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.12.053.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010....
,44. Tang P, Roldan G, Brasher PM, Fulton D, Roa W, Murtha A, et al. A phase II study of carboplatin and chronic high-dose tamoxifen in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2006;78(3):311-6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9104-y.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-910...
). Nevertheless, improved survival seems to depend on the understanding and manipulation of pathways that regulate aberrant tumor growth (11. Pollack IF, Randall MS, Kristofik MP, Kelly RH, Selker RG, Vertosick FT Jr. Effect of tamoxifen on DNA synthesis and proliferation of human malignant glioma lines in vitro. Cancer Res. 1990;50(22):7134-8.).

Estrogens are steroid hormones that exert important effects on the reproductive and gastrointestinal systems, mammary glands, skeletal and immune systems, and even the central nervous system. The majority of estrogen effects are mediated mainly by estrogen alpha (ERα) and beta (ERβ) receptors (55. Batistatou A, Stefanou D, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Papavassiliou AG, Agnantis NJ. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) is expressed in brain astrocytic tumors and declines with dedifferentiation of the neoplasm. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2004;130(7):405-10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-0548-9.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-054...
,66. Batistatou A, Kyzas PA, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Voulgaris S, Polyzoidis K, et al. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) protein expression correlates with BAG-1 and prognosis in brain glial tumours. J Neurooncol. 2006;77(1): 17-23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9005-0.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-900...
).

Progesterone participates in the regulation of several reproductive processes, including ovulation and sexual behavior. In synergism with estrogen, progesterone also influences neuronal excitability, learning and neoplastic proliferation of glial cells. These progesterone effects result mainly from the interaction of this hormone with intranuclear progesterone receptors (PR) (44. Tang P, Roldan G, Brasher PM, Fulton D, Roa W, Murtha A, et al. A phase II study of carboplatin and chronic high-dose tamoxifen in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2006;78(3):311-6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9104-y.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-910...
).

There are two progesterone receptor isoforms: progesterone receptor A (PR-A) and progesterone receptor B (PR-B), which modify gene expression involved in cell proliferation, angiogenesis and production of epidermal growth factor (EGF) (77. Cabrera-Muãoz E, Hernández-Hernández O.T, Camacho-Arroyo I. Role of progesterone in human astrocytoma growth. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(13):1663-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156802611796117685.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/15680261179611...
).

The effect of some anti-estrogenic drugs on glial tumor cells in vitro has aroused interest in the study of possible mechanisms of action for selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), particularly tamoxifen, in these neoplasms (88. Robins HI, Won M, Seiferheld WF, Schultz CJ, Choucair AK, Brachman DG, et al. Phase 2 trial of radiation plus high-dose tamoxifen for glioblastoma multiforme: RTOG protocol BR-0021. Neuro Oncol. 2006;8(1)47-52, http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/S1522851705000311.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/S1522851705000...
,99. Konstantinopoulos PA, Kominea A, Vandoros G, Sykiotis GP, Andricopoulos P, Varakis J, et al. Oestrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) is abundantly expressed in normal colonic mucosa, but declines in colon adenocarcinoma paralleling the tumor’s dedifferentiation. Eur J Cancer. 2003;39(9):1251-8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-8049(03)00239-9.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-8049(03)...
,1010. Rosal AM, Da Silva BB. Evaluation of estrogen and progesterone receptors in non-neoplasic breast tissue of women of reproductive age explosed to tamoxifen and raloxifene: a randomized, double-blind study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011;125(3):797-801, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-010-1307-z.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-010-130...
,1111. Berny W, Weiser A, Jarmundowicz W, Markowska-Woyciechowska A, Zaluski R, Zub W. [Analysis of expression of estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR) in brain glial tumors and its correlation with expression of p53 protein and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)]. Neurol Neurochir Pol. 2004;38(5):367-71.,1212. Check JH, Wilson C, Cohen R, Sarumi M. Evidence that Mifepristone, a progesterone receptor antagonist, can cross the blood brain barrier and provide palliative benefits for glioblastoma multiforme grade IV. Anticancer Res. 2014;34(5):2385-8.).

Therefore, based upon the scarcity of studies that have investigated these receptors in glial cells, the current article aimed to conduct a literature review of the PubMed database to identify studies reporting the presence of estrogen and progesterone receptors in glial tissue over the last 12 years.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

A PubMed database search was performed, focusing on published articles that contained quantitative studies on ER and PR expression in astrocytomas. The search was limited to the English language. Only articles published in the last 12 years were included in this review because in this period most reports involving immunohistochemistry and molecular biology on the subject were conducted. The articles were required to contain original research data for study inclusion. The search terms consisted of the following MeSH terms: “estrogen receptor beta” ORestrogen receptor alpha” OR “estrogen receptor antagonists” OR “receptors progesterone” OR “astrocytoma” OR “glioma” ORglioblastoma.”

The inclusion criteria were as follows: a) studies published in English, b) studies in which patients with brain astrocytomas were included, c) studies that investigated a correlation between hormone receptors and astrocytomas and d) studies that investigated a correlation between SERMs and astrocytomas.

To expand the scope of the search, the reference lists of all studies were inspected by two experienced authors. Studies were excluded if they were irrelevant studies, duplicate publications, articles with only abstracts available, case reports/case series, editorials, commentaries, literature reviews, letters to the editor and articles that were related to types of glial tumors other than astrocytomas.

RESULTS

Selected studies

Of the 111 titles identified in the PubMed database following the use of the keywords, only 42 satisfied the inclusion criteria. Of these 42 articles, 29 articles were excluded because 2 were duplicate articles, 6 were only available as an abstract, 10 involved tumors that were not astrocytomas, 2 were case reports, 4 were literature reviews and 5 were considered irrelevant studies by the reviewers. Thus, only 13 studies were used in the review (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Search Flowchart.

Study characteristics

Four articles exclusively described the presence of ERβ in glial tumors and one specifically described ERβ5 isoforms. Two studies reported the presence of ERα in astrocytomas, and only one reported the expression of both subtypes (Table 1).

Table 1
Summary of the characteristics of selected studies.

Four articles reported the presence of PR in astrocytomas without specifying the subtypes. Only one study reported PR-A and another study reported PR-B (Table 1).

With increasing histological malignancy of astrocytomas, there was a decline in ERα expression described in two studies and a decrease in ERβ expression shown in another four articles. With increasing cell dedifferentiation, an increase in ERβ5 and PR expression was described in two different articles (Table 1).

Two studies showed that ER expression served as a biomarker of a good prognosis; one study reported increased ERα expression and the other reported increased ERβ expression (Table 1).

DISCUSSION

Gliomas are tumors derived from glial cells, such as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia and ependymocytes. Gliomas are the most common type of primary central nervous system neoplasm, accounting for approximately 70-80% of all cases (22. Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavenee WK, Burger PC, Jouvet A, et al. The 2007 WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Acta Neuropathol. 2007;114(2):97-109, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-0243-4.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-024...
,33. Patel S, Dibiase S, Meisenberg B, Flannery T, Patel A, Dhople A, et al. Phase I clinical trial assessing temozolomide and tamoxifen with concomitant radiotherapy for treatment of high-grade glioma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;82(2):739-42, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.12.053.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010....
,44. Tang P, Roldan G, Brasher PM, Fulton D, Roa W, Murtha A, et al. A phase II study of carboplatin and chronic high-dose tamoxifen in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2006;78(3):311-6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9104-y.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-910...
,1313. Uematsu M, Ohsawa I, Aokage T, Nishimaki K, Matsumoto K, Takahashi H, et al. Prognostic significance of the immunohistochemical index of survivin in glioma: a comparative study with the MIB-1 index. J Neurooncol. 2005;72(3):231-8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-2353-3.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-235...
).

Depending to the cell of origin, these neoplasms are termed astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, oligoastrocytomas or ependymomas, with astrocytomas representing the most common type of glioma. According to the WHO classification, astrocytomas may be low-grade or benign and high-grade or malignant, based on the following histologic criteria: nuclear atypias, mitoses, cell proliferation and presence of necrosis (22. Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavenee WK, Burger PC, Jouvet A, et al. The 2007 WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Acta Neuropathol. 2007;114(2):97-109, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-0243-4.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-024...
,44. Tang P, Roldan G, Brasher PM, Fulton D, Roa W, Murtha A, et al. A phase II study of carboplatin and chronic high-dose tamoxifen in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2006;78(3):311-6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9104-y.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-910...
,1212. Check JH, Wilson C, Cohen R, Sarumi M. Evidence that Mifepristone, a progesterone receptor antagonist, can cross the blood brain barrier and provide palliative benefits for glioblastoma multiforme grade IV. Anticancer Res. 2014;34(5):2385-8.,1213. Uematsu M, Ohsawa I, Aokage T, Nishimaki K, Matsumoto K, Takahashi H, et al. Prognostic significance of the immunohistochemical index of survivin in glioma: a comparative study with the MIB-1 index. J Neurooncol. 2005;72(3):231-8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-2353-3.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-235...
,1313. Uematsu M, Ohsawa I, Aokage T, Nishimaki K, Matsumoto K, Takahashi H, et al. Prognostic significance of the immunohistochemical index of survivin in glioma: a comparative study with the MIB-1 index. J Neurooncol. 2005;72(3):231-8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-2353-3.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-235...
,1818. Kabat GC, Etgen AM and Rohan T.E. Do steroid hormones play a role in the etiology of glioma? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010;(10):2421-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0658.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-...
19. Chien LN, Ostrom QT, Gittleman H, Lin JW, Sloan AE, Barnett GH, et al. International Differences in Treatment and Clinical Outcomes for High Grade Glioma. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(6):e0129602, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0129602.
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).

The main risk factors for gliomas are exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation and the presence of rare genetic conditions, such as neurofibromatosis and tuberous sclerosis (1515. Evans SM, Judy KD, Dunphy I, Jenkins WT, Nelson PT, Collins R, et al. Comparative measurements of hypoxia in human brain tumors using needle electrodes and EF5 binding. Cancer Res. 2004;64(5):1886-92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-03-2424.
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,1616. Ho VK, Reijneveld JC, Enting R.H, Bienfait HP, Robe P, Baumert BG, et al. Changing incidence and improved survival of gliomas. Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(13):2309-18, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2014.05.019.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2014.05...
).

These tumors may present a variety of neurologic manifestations, such as seizures, motor and sensory deficits and changes in behavior. Complete surgical removal is usually not possible due to the infiltrative nature of the tumor and its location in critical areas of the brain (1717. Sareddy GR, Nair BC, Gonugunta VK, Zhang QG, Brenner A, Brann DW, et al. Therapeutic significance of estrogen receptor beta agonists in gliomas. Mol Cancer Ther. 2012;11(5):1174-82, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0960.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-...
).

According to Ho et al., who studied 21,085 glial tumors in the Netherlands, the incidence of gliomas has increased in the last 21 years, increasing from 4.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants/year to 5.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants/year. This rise in glioma incidence may be the result of greater awareness among physicians and the ease of performing imaging tests. As a result, larger numbers of patients are diagnosed, including those with asymptomatic tumors (1616. Ho VK, Reijneveld JC, Enting R.H, Bienfait HP, Robe P, Baumert BG, et al. Changing incidence and improved survival of gliomas. Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(13):2309-18, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2014.05.019.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2014.05...
).

High-grade gliomas have an annual incidence of 3.56 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the United States. There is a predominance in males (3:1) and gliomas mainly affect adults ranging from 40 to 60 years of age. Gliomas are among the most aggressive primary brain tumors; even when adequately treated with surgical resection, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, patients with malignant gliomas have a mean survival time of approximately 12 months. The most recent advance in treatment is the use of temozolomide as a chemotherapeutic agent. This drug has increased the mean survival time by 2.5 months and survival after two years by approximately 16% (33. Patel S, Dibiase S, Meisenberg B, Flannery T, Patel A, Dhople A, et al. Phase I clinical trial assessing temozolomide and tamoxifen with concomitant radiotherapy for treatment of high-grade glioma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;82(2):739-42, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.12.053.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010....
,44. Tang P, Roldan G, Brasher PM, Fulton D, Roa W, Murtha A, et al. A phase II study of carboplatin and chronic high-dose tamoxifen in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2006;78(3):311-6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9104-y.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-910...
,2020. Uehara K, Sasayama T, Miyawaki D, Nishimura H, Yoshida K, Okamoto Y, et al. Patterns of failure after multimodal treatments for high-grade glioma: effectiveness of MIB-1 labeling index. Radiat Oncol. 2012;7:104, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1748-717X-7-104.
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,2121. Dueãas Jiménez JM, Candanedo Arellano A, Santerre A, Orozco Suárez S, Sandoval Sánchez H, Feria Romero I, et al. Aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha mRNA expression as prognostic biomarkers in patients with astrocytomas. J Neurooncol. 2014;119(2):275-84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-1509-z.
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,2222. Atif F, Yousuf S, Stein D.G. Anti-tumor effects of progesterone in human glioblastoma multiforme: role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015;146:62-73, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2014.04.007.
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,2323. Cabrera-Muãoz E, González-Arenas A, Saqui-Salces M, Camacho J, Larrea F, García-Becerra R, et al. Regulation of progesterone receptor isoforms content in human astrocytoma cell lines. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009;113(1-2):80-4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.11.009.
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).

Glioblastoma multiforme (grade 4 of the WHO grading system) relapses in 100% of cases. Recurrent tumors, especially those treated previously with a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, are more refractory to new therapeutic strategies (2323. Cabrera-Muãoz E, González-Arenas A, Saqui-Salces M, Camacho J, Larrea F, García-Becerra R, et al. Regulation of progesterone receptor isoforms content in human astrocytoma cell lines. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009;113(1-2):80-4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.11.009.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.1...
).

Achieving prognostic improvements and more effective treatment seems to depend on the understanding and manipulation of molecular and genetic pathways that regulate the aberrant growth of these tumors. In particular, biomolecular markers have introduced further information concerning this topic in recent decades (22. Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavenee WK, Burger PC, Jouvet A, et al. The 2007 WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Acta Neuropathol. 2007;114(2):97-109, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-0243-4.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-007-024...
,2121. Dueãas Jiménez JM, Candanedo Arellano A, Santerre A, Orozco Suárez S, Sandoval Sánchez H, Feria Romero I, et al. Aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha mRNA expression as prognostic biomarkers in patients with astrocytomas. J Neurooncol. 2014;119(2):275-84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-1509-z.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-150...
,2525. Siegal T. Clinical impact of molecular biomarkers in gliomas. J Clin Neurosci. 2015;22(3):437-44, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2014.10.004.
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,2626. Thotakura M, Tirumalasetti N, Krishna R. Role of Ki-67 labeling index as an adjunct to the histopathological diagnosis and grading of astrocytomas. J Can Res Ther. 2014;10(3):641-5, http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0973-1482.139154.
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,2727. Hu X, Miao W, Zo Y, Zhang W, Zhang Y, Liu H. Expression of p53, epidermal growth factor receptor, Ki-67 and O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase in human gliomas. Oncol Lett. 2013;6(1):130-4, http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ol.2013.1317.
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,2828. Yamashita Y, Kasugai I, Sato M, Tanuma N, Sato I, Nomura M, et al. CDC25A mRNA levels significantly correlate with Ki-67 expression in human glioma samples. J Neurooncol. 2010;100(1):43-9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-010-0147-3.
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,2929. Thuy MN, Kam JK, Lee GC, Tao PL, Ling DQ, Cheng M, et al. A novel literature-based approach to identify genetic and molecular predictors of survival in glioblastoma multiforme: Analysis of 14,678 patients using systematic review and meta-analytical tools. J Clin Neurosci. 2015;22(5):785-99, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2014.10.029.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2014.10...
).

Regarding the clinical course of disease, two classes of markers have been established in oncology: prognostic and predictive markers. Prognostic markers detail the behavior of the disease regardless of the treatment adopted, while predictive markers provide information on the expected progress if a certain intervention was performed (1313. Uematsu M, Ohsawa I, Aokage T, Nishimaki K, Matsumoto K, Takahashi H, et al. Prognostic significance of the immunohistochemical index of survivin in glioma: a comparative study with the MIB-1 index. J Neurooncol. 2005;72(3):231-8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-2353-3.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-004-235...
,2626. Thotakura M, Tirumalasetti N, Krishna R. Role of Ki-67 labeling index as an adjunct to the histopathological diagnosis and grading of astrocytomas. J Can Res Ther. 2014;10(3):641-5, http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0973-1482.139154.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0973-1482.1391...
).

In a systematic review of molecular and genetic markers in the survival time of 14,678 patients with gliomas, Thuy et al. reported the existence of four main biomarkers: O-6-methylguanine methyltransferase (O-6-MGMT) methylation, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH1/2) mutation, Ki-67/MIB1 proliferation index and loss of heterozygosity on chromosome 10/10q (LOH 10/10q) (2929. Thuy MN, Kam JK, Lee GC, Tao PL, Ling DQ, Cheng M, et al. A novel literature-based approach to identify genetic and molecular predictors of survival in glioblastoma multiforme: Analysis of 14,678 patients using systematic review and meta-analytical tools. J Clin Neurosci. 2015;22(5):785-99, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2014.10.029.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2014.10...
).

Steroid hormones exert important effects on the reproductive system, gastrointestinal tract, mammary glands, skeletal and immune systems, and even the central nervous system (55. Batistatou A, Stefanou D, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Papavassiliou AG, Agnantis NJ. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) is expressed in brain astrocytic tumors and declines with dedifferentiation of the neoplasm. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2004;130(7):405-10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-0548-9.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-054...
,1818. Kabat GC, Etgen AM and Rohan T.E. Do steroid hormones play a role in the etiology of glioma? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010;(10):2421-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0658.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-...
).

Studies have demonstrated that steroid hormones have a neuroprotective role in several neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and cerebrovascular accident (stroke). These neuroprotective effects include increased myelination, decreased edema, apoptosis and inflammation (1818. Kabat GC, Etgen AM and Rohan T.E. Do steroid hormones play a role in the etiology of glioma? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010;(10):2421-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0658.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-...
).

Hormones, mainly estrogens, may influence the development and control of brain tumor growth by interacting with their receptors or activating potentially oncogenic mediators. Estrogens seem to have a protective effect on the development of gliomas because they occur more commonly in men than in women. In women, the incidence of gliomas increases during the postmenopausal period, when estrogen levels are low (33. Patel S, Dibiase S, Meisenberg B, Flannery T, Patel A, Dhople A, et al. Phase I clinical trial assessing temozolomide and tamoxifen with concomitant radiotherapy for treatment of high-grade glioma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;82(2):739-42, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.12.053.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010....
,1414. Carroll RS, Zhang J, Dashner K, Sar M, Black PM. Steroid hormone receptors in astrocytic neoplasms. Neurosurgery. 1995;37(3):496-504, http://dx.doi.org/10.1227/00006123-199509000-00019.
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,1818. Kabat GC, Etgen AM and Rohan T.E. Do steroid hormones play a role in the etiology of glioma? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010;(10):2421-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0658.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-...
,3030. Dueãas Jiménez JM, Candanedo Arellano A, Santerre A, Orozco Suárez S, Sandoval Sánchez H, Feria Romero I, et al. Aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha mRNA expression as prognostic biomarkers in patients with astrocytomas. J Neurooncol. 2014;119(2):275-84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-1509-z.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-150...
).

The majority of these effects are mediated by ERα and ERβ. The former was initially characterized and cloned in 1986, and the latter was sequenced in 1996. These receptors are highly homologous, despite being products of different genes; ERα is located on chromosome 6q25.1 and ERβ is situated on chromosome 14q22-24 (66. Batistatou A, Kyzas PA, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Voulgaris S, Polyzoidis K, et al. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) protein expression correlates with BAG-1 and prognosis in brain glial tumours. J Neurooncol. 2006;77(1): 17-23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9005-0.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-900...
).

At least five ERβ (ERβ 1-5) isoforms have been identified. These isoforms have an identical N-terminal sequence, but the amino acid sequences diverge at amino acid 469 and extend to the C-terminus. In vitro studies have shown different transcription activities among these isoforms (3131. Wenjun Li, Ali Winters, Ethan Poteet, Myoung-Gwi Ryou, Song Lin, Shuyu Hao, et al. Involvement of estrogen receptor b5 in the progression of glioma. Brain Research. 2013;1503:97-107, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2013.02.004.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.201...
).

The function of ERα in several neoplasms has been widely investigated, while the role of ERβ in the pathophysiology of cancer remains unknown. The presence of these receptors decreases with higher tumor grades of astrocytomas, suggesting that ERβ may play a neuroprotective role (55. Batistatou A, Stefanou D, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Papavassiliou AG, Agnantis NJ. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) is expressed in brain astrocytic tumors and declines with dedifferentiation of the neoplasm. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2004;130(7):405-10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-0548-9.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-054...
,66. Batistatou A, Kyzas PA, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Voulgaris S, Polyzoidis K, et al. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) protein expression correlates with BAG-1 and prognosis in brain glial tumours. J Neurooncol. 2006;77(1): 17-23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9005-0.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-900...
,3030. Dueãas Jiménez JM, Candanedo Arellano A, Santerre A, Orozco Suárez S, Sandoval Sánchez H, Feria Romero I, et al. Aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha mRNA expression as prognostic biomarkers in patients with astrocytomas. J Neurooncol. 2014;119(2):275-84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-1509-z.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-150...
).

ERβ agonists and SERMs inhibit glioma tumor growth and promote tumor cell death. These findings suggest that estrogens may decrease tumor proliferation by interacting with nuclear receptors (3030. Dueãas Jiménez JM, Candanedo Arellano A, Santerre A, Orozco Suárez S, Sandoval Sánchez H, Feria Romero I, et al. Aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha mRNA expression as prognostic biomarkers in patients with astrocytomas. J Neurooncol. 2014;119(2):275-84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-1509-z.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-150...
).

On the other hand, an in vitro study conducted with cell cultures by González-Arenas et al. showed that estradiol induced astrocyte growth through its interaction with ERα, recruitment of SRC-1 and SRC-2 coactivators and regulation of gene expression involved in the cell cycle, angiogenesis and metastases (3232. González-Arenas A, Hansberg-Pastor V, Hernández-Hernández O.T, González-Garcia TK, Henderson Villalpando J, Lemus-Hernández D, et al. Estradiol increases cell growth in human astrocytoma cell lines through ERα activation and its interaction with SRC-1 and SRC-3 coactivators. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 2012;1823(2):379-86, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2011.11.004.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2011....
).

The loss of ERβ expression has been suggested as an important step in estrogen-dependent tumor progression. In breast tumors, high levels of ERβ receptors are associated with low-grade tumors, a favorable prognosis and a good response to tamoxifen. However, this anti-proliferative capacity has also been demonstrated in hormone-independent tumors, e.g. colon and lung neoplasms. Different mechanisms have been proposed for this anti-proliferative action, such as inhibition of ERα transcription, inhibition of phase S+G2/M and inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF1) transcription activity (66. Batistatou A, Kyzas PA, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Voulgaris S, Polyzoidis K, et al. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) protein expression correlates with BAG-1 and prognosis in brain glial tumours. J Neurooncol. 2006;77(1): 17-23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9005-0.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-900...
,3131. Wenjun Li, Ali Winters, Ethan Poteet, Myoung-Gwi Ryou, Song Lin, Shuyu Hao, et al. Involvement of estrogen receptor b5 in the progression of glioma. Brain Research. 2013;1503:97-107, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2013.02.004.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.201...
).

Although few studies have examined ERβ expression in brain tissue, ERβ is known to exist in neurons of the hippocampus, astrocytes, pituitary tumors and glial tumors. However, the specific function of ERβ in the pathogenesis, progression and prognosis of these neoplasms remains unknown (55. Batistatou A, Stefanou D, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Papavassiliou AG, Agnantis NJ. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) is expressed in brain astrocytic tumors and declines with dedifferentiation of the neoplasm. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2004;130(7):405-10, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-0548-9.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-004-054...
,66. Batistatou A, Kyzas PA, Goussia A, Arkoumani E, Voulgaris S, Polyzoidis K, et al. Estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) protein expression correlates with BAG-1 and prognosis in brain glial tumours. J Neurooncol. 2006;77(1): 17-23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9005-0.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-900...
,1717. Sareddy GR, Nair BC, Gonugunta VK, Zhang QG, Brenner A, Brann DW, et al. Therapeutic significance of estrogen receptor beta agonists in gliomas. Mol Cancer Ther. 2012;11(5):1174-82, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0960.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-...
).

In a study by Wenju Li et al., β5 was the most commonly found isoform among glial ERβ. In addition, ERβ expression was shown to increase with higher cell dedifferentiation, contradicting previous studies. This increased ERβ expression may have occurred as a result of hypoxia, which is commonly encountered in gliomas (3131. Wenjun Li, Ali Winters, Ethan Poteet, Myoung-Gwi Ryou, Song Lin, Shuyu Hao, et al. Involvement of estrogen receptor b5 in the progression of glioma. Brain Research. 2013;1503:97-107, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2013.02.004.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.201...
).

The actions of steroid hormones may also be mediated by coactivators, of which the family of p160 steroid receptor coactivators (SRC) has been the most widely studied. This family includes three members: SRC-1, SRC-2 and SRC-3. SRC-1 is most commonly found in brain tissue, predominantly neurons, although some astrocytes may also express this coactivator (3333. Liu C, Zhang Y, Zhang K, Bian C, Zhao Y, Zhang J. Expression of estrogen receptors, androgen receptor and steroid receptor coactivator-3 is negatively correlated to the differentiation of astrocytic tumors. Cancer Epidemiol. 2014;38(3):291-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2014.03.001.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2014.0...
).

In astrocytomas, SRC-1 and SRC-3 are more abundant and typically found in the cell nucleus. In comparison, SRC-2 shows low-level expression and is most commonly located in extranuclear sites (3131. Wenjun Li, Ali Winters, Ethan Poteet, Myoung-Gwi Ryou, Song Lin, Shuyu Hao, et al. Involvement of estrogen receptor b5 in the progression of glioma. Brain Research. 2013;1503:97-107, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2013.02.004.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.201...
).

Progesterone participates in the regulation of various reproductive processes, including ovulation and sexual behavior. Nevertheless, it also influences neuronal excitability, learning and the proliferation of brain tumors, such as meningiomas, chordomas and astrocytomas (44. Tang P, Roldan G, Brasher PM, Fulton D, Roa W, Murtha A, et al. A phase II study of carboplatin and chronic high-dose tamoxifen in patients with recurrent malignant glioma. J Neurooncol. 2006;78(3):311-6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-9104-y.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-005-910...
,77. Cabrera-Muãoz E, Hernández-Hernández O.T, Camacho-Arroyo I. Role of progesterone in human astrocytoma growth. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(13):1663-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156802611796117685.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/15680261179611...
).

There is abundant evidence showing that progesterone plays a neuroprotective role after injury to the central and peripheral nervous systems, limiting tissue damage or improving functional prognosis after traumatic brain injury, strokes, spinal cord injury, diabetic neuropathy and other types of acute neurologic injuries (3434. Hassanzadeh P, Arbabi E. The Effects of Progesterone on Glial Cell Line-derived Neurotrophic Factor Secretion from C6 Glioma Cells. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2012;15(5):1046-52.).

Progesterone crosses the blood-brain barrier rapidly, decreasing the inflammatory process and edema that accompanies severe traumatic brain injury (2323. Cabrera-Muãoz E, González-Arenas A, Saqui-Salces M, Camacho J, Larrea F, García-Becerra R, et al. Regulation of progesterone receptor isoforms content in human astrocytoma cell lines. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2009;113(1-2):80-4, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.11.009.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2008.1...
).

The actual mechanisms responsible for these effects remain unknown. However, the major causes are the synthesis and stimulated secretion of neuroprotective substances, including neuronal growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF) and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) (3333. Liu C, Zhang Y, Zhang K, Bian C, Zhao Y, Zhang J. Expression of estrogen receptors, androgen receptor and steroid receptor coactivator-3 is negatively correlated to the differentiation of astrocytic tumors. Cancer Epidemiol. 2014;38(3):291-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2014.03.001.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.canep.2014.0...
).

Experimental studies have shown that progesterone is capable of stimulating the infiltration and migration of astrocytes in the rat cortex. This effect may be due to various mechanisms, such as the increased expression of cell adhesion proteins, modification of the cytoskeleton and plasma membrane and even modification of voltage-dependent ion channels (3535. Germán-Castelán L, Manjarrez-Marmolejo J, González-Arenas A, González-Morán MG, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone induces the growth and infiltration of human astrocytoma cells implanted in the cerebral cortex of the rat. BioMed Res Int. 2014;2014:393174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174...
).

In vitro studies indicate that progesterone promotes cell proliferation in astrocytomas, as well as the expression of genes that are important for tumor growth and dissemination, e.g., cyclin D1, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) (3535. Germán-Castelán L, Manjarrez-Marmolejo J, González-Arenas A, González-Morán MG, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone induces the growth and infiltration of human astrocytoma cells implanted in the cerebral cortex of the rat. BioMed Res Int. 2014;2014:393174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174...
,3636. Hernández-Hernández OT, González-García TK, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone receptor and SRC-1 participate in the regulation of VEGF, EGFR and Cyclin D1 expression in human astrocytoma cell lines. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2012; 132(1-2):127-34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.04.005.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.0...
).

However, there are several studies in the literature confirming that progesterone has anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects on ovarian, breast, endometrial and colon tumors as well as gliomas (2222. Atif F, Yousuf S, Stein D.G. Anti-tumor effects of progesterone in human glioblastoma multiforme: role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015;146:62-73, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2014.04.007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2014.0...
).

According to Atif et al., high doses of progesterone inhibit the growth of glioblastoma multiforme, both in vitro and in animal experiments. This effect was shown to mainly involve the inhibition of cellular proliferation and angiogenesis and the induction of apoptosis (2222. Atif F, Yousuf S, Stein D.G. Anti-tumor effects of progesterone in human glioblastoma multiforme: role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015;146:62-73, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2014.04.007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2014.0...
).

Progesterone is derived from cholesterol and exerts its effects through two major mechanisms, termed the classical and non-classical pathways. The former involves an interaction with intracellular PRs, while the latter requires the participation of membrane receptors and ion channels. These receptors are ligands of transcription factors for several genes that are involved in the metabolism, development, reproduction and progression of the cell cycle (77. Cabrera-Muãoz E, Hernández-Hernández O.T, Camacho-Arroyo I. Role of progesterone in human astrocytoma growth. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(13):1663-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156802611796117685.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/15680261179611...
,3737. González-Arenas A, Peãa-Ortiz MA, Hansberg-Pastor V, Marquina-Sánchez B, Baranda-Ávila N, Nava-Castro K, et al. PKCα and PKCδ Activation Regulates Transcriptional Activity and Degradation of Progesterone Receptor in Human Astrocytoma Cells. Endocrinology, 2015;156(3):101022.).

Two PR isoforms have been described in humans, PR-A and PR-B, and both isoforms have the same genetic origin. They are differentially expressed in various brain regions and may exert distinct functions in the same cell because they are regulated by different promoters. In general, PR-B is a stronger transcriptional activator than PR-A (77. Cabrera-Muãoz E, Hernández-Hernández O.T, Camacho-Arroyo I. Role of progesterone in human astrocytoma growth. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(13):1663-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156802611796117685.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/15680261179611...
,1515. Evans SM, Judy KD, Dunphy I, Jenkins WT, Nelson PT, Collins R, et al. Comparative measurements of hypoxia in human brain tumors using needle electrodes and EF5 binding. Cancer Res. 2004;64(5):1886-92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-03-2424.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-...
,3535. Germán-Castelán L, Manjarrez-Marmolejo J, González-Arenas A, González-Morán MG, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone induces the growth and infiltration of human astrocytoma cells implanted in the cerebral cortex of the rat. BioMed Res Int. 2014;2014:393174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174...
,3636. Hernández-Hernández OT, González-García TK, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone receptor and SRC-1 participate in the regulation of VEGF, EGFR and Cyclin D1 expression in human astrocytoma cell lines. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2012; 132(1-2):127-34, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.04.005.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.0...
,3838. Hassanzadeh P, Arbabi E. The Effects of Progesterone on Glial Cell Line-derived Neurotrophic Factor Secretion from C6 Glioma Cells. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2012;15(5):1046-1052.).

PRs have been found in several types of brain tumors, such as meningiomas, chordomas, craniopharyngiomas and gliomas (1515. Evans SM, Judy KD, Dunphy I, Jenkins WT, Nelson PT, Collins R, et al. Comparative measurements of hypoxia in human brain tumors using needle electrodes and EF5 binding. Cancer Res. 2004;64(5):1886-92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-03-2424.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-...
,2020. Uehara K, Sasayama T, Miyawaki D, Nishimura H, Yoshida K, Okamoto Y, et al. Patterns of failure after multimodal treatments for high-grade glioma: effectiveness of MIB-1 labeling index. Radiat Oncol. 2012;7:104, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1748-717X-7-104.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1748-717X-7-10...
,3939. Gonzalez-Aguero G, Ondarza R, Gamboa-Dominguez, Cerbón MA, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone receptor isoforms expression pattern in human astrocytomas. Brain Res Bull. 2001;56(1):43-8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0361-9230(01)00590-1.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0361-9230(01)...
).

According to some studies, PR expression increases with the histological malignancy of astrocytomas, different from that observed with ERs. In addition, there is a predominance of isoform B in high-grade gliomas (77. Cabrera-Muãoz E, Hernández-Hernández O.T, Camacho-Arroyo I. Role of progesterone in human astrocytoma growth. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(13):1663-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156802611796117685.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/15680261179611...
,1515. Evans SM, Judy KD, Dunphy I, Jenkins WT, Nelson PT, Collins R, et al. Comparative measurements of hypoxia in human brain tumors using needle electrodes and EF5 binding. Cancer Res. 2004;64(5):1886-92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-03-2424.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-...
,2626. Thotakura M, Tirumalasetti N, Krishna R. Role of Ki-67 labeling index as an adjunct to the histopathological diagnosis and grading of astrocytomas. J Can Res Ther. 2014;10(3):641-5, http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0973-1482.139154.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0973-1482.1391...
,3535. Germán-Castelán L, Manjarrez-Marmolejo J, González-Arenas A, González-Morán MG, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone induces the growth and infiltration of human astrocytoma cells implanted in the cerebral cortex of the rat. BioMed Res Int. 2014;2014:393174, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/393174...
,3838. Hassanzadeh P, Arbabi E. The Effects of Progesterone on Glial Cell Line-derived Neurotrophic Factor Secretion from C6 Glioma Cells. Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2012;15(5):1046-1052.,3939. Gonzalez-Aguero G, Ondarza R, Gamboa-Dominguez, Cerbón MA, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone receptor isoforms expression pattern in human astrocytomas. Brain Res Bull. 2001;56(1):43-8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0361-9230(01)00590-1.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0361-9230(01)...
,4040. Hernández-Hernández O.T, Rodriguez-Dorantes M, González-Arenas A, Camacho-Arroyo I. Progesterone and estradiol effects on SRC-1 and SRC-3 expression in human astrocytoma cell lines. Endocrine. 2010; 37(1):194-200, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-009-9288-6.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-009-928...
,4141. Assimakopoulou M, Sotiropoulou-Bonikou G, Maraziotis T, Varakis J. Does sex stereoid receptor status have any prognostic or predictive significance in brain astrocytic tumors? Clin Neuropathol. 1998; 17(1):27-34.).

PRs are regulated differently by estradiol and progesterone in different cells and tissues. Normally, PR function is increased (up-regulated) by estradiol and decreased (down-regulated) by progesterone (77. Cabrera-Muãoz E, Hernández-Hernández O.T, Camacho-Arroyo I. Role of progesterone in human astrocytoma growth. Curr Top Med Chem. 2011;11(13):1663-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156802611796117685.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/15680261179611...
,3030. Dueãas Jiménez JM, Candanedo Arellano A, Santerre A, Orozco Suárez S, Sandoval Sánchez H, Feria Romero I, et al. Aromatase and estrogen receptor alpha mRNA expression as prognostic biomarkers in patients with astrocytomas. J Neurooncol. 2014;119(2):275-84, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-1509-z.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-014-150...
).

The action of estradiol is mediated by estrogen response elements that are located in PR promoters. Progesterone causes proteolysis of PRs by means of phosphorylation (2424. Gerdes J, Schwab U, Lemke H, Stein H. Production of a mouse monoclonal antibody reactive with a human nuclear antigen associated with cell proliferation. Int J Cancer. 1983;31(1):13-20, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.2910310104.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.2910310104...
) and this finding led us to conduct a review on ER and PR expression in astrocytomas.

Both ERα and ERβ are expressed in astrocytomas, with a predominance of isoform alpha. In the majority of studies, the presence of both ERs was shown to decrease with increasing histological tumor malignancy, suggesting a neuroprotective role, particularly of the ER beta isoform.

Both PR-A and PR-B have been reported in astrocytomas, with a predominance of the beta isoform. The presence of both PRs was shown to increase with higher tumor grades.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Aug 2016

History

  • Received
    4 Dec 2015
  • Reviewed
    9 Mar 2016
  • Accepted
    19 Apr 2016
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