textabstractINTRODUCTION: Tamoxifen is effective for endocrine treatment of oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancers but ultimately fails due to the development of resistance. A functional screen in human breast cancer cells identified two BCAR genes causing oestrogen-independent proliferation. The BCAR1 and BCAR3 genes both encode components of intracellular signal transduction, but their direct effect on breast cancer cell proliferation is not known. The aim of this study was to investigate the growth control mediated by these BCAR genes by gene expression profiling. METHODS: We have measured the expression changes induced by overexpression of the BCAR1 or BCAR3 gene in ZR-75-1 cells and have made direct comparisons with the expression changes after cell stimulation with oestrogen or epidermal growth factor (EGF). A comparison with published gene expression data of cell models and breast tumours is made. RESULTS: Relatively few changes in gene expression were detected in the BCAR-transfected cells, in comparison with the extensive and distinct differences in gene expression induced by oestrogen or EGF. Both BCAR1 and BCAR3 regulate discrete sets of genes in these ZR-75-1-derived cells, indicating that the proliferation signalling proceeds along distinct pathways. Oestrogen-regulated genes in our cell model showed general concordance with reported data of cell models and gene expression association with oestrogen receptor status of breast tumours. CONCLUSIONS: The direct comparison of the expression profiles of BCAR transfectants and oestrogen or EGF-stimulated cells strongly suggests that anti-oestrogen-resistant cell proliferation is not caused by alternative activation of the oestrogen receptor or by the epidermal growth factor receptor signalling pathway
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