M-L Lin, H Patel, J Remenyi, CRS Banerji, C-F Lai, M Periyasamy, Y Lombardo, C Busonero, S Ottaviani, A Passey, PR Quinlan, CA Purdie, LB Jordan, AM Thompson, RS Finn, OM Rueda, C Caldas, J Gil, RC Coombes, FV Fuller-Pace, AE Teschendorff, L Buluwela, S Ali
The Nuclear Receptor (NR) superfamily of transcription factors comprises 48 members, several of which have been implicated in breast cancer. Most important is estrogen receptor-α (ERα), which is a key therapeutic target. ERα action is facilitated by co-operativity with other NR and there is evidence that ERα function may be recapitulated by other NRs in ERα-negative breast cancer. In order to examine the inter-relationships between nuclear receptors, and to obtain evidence for previously unsuspected roles for any NRs, we undertook quantitative RT-PCR and bioinformatics analysis to examine their expression in breast cancer. While most NRs were expressed, bioinformatic analyses differentiated tumours into distinct prognostic groups that were validated by analyzing public microarray data sets. Although ERα and progesterone receptor were dominant in distinguishing prognostic groups, other NR strengthened these groups. Clustering analysis identified several family members with potential importance in breast cancer. Specifically, RORγ is identified as being co-expressed with ERα, whilst several NRs are preferentially expressed in ERα-negative disease, with TLX expression being prognostic in this subtype. Functional studies demonstrated the importance of TLX in regulating growth and invasion in ERα-negative breast cancer cells.