Pharmacological activation of estrogen receptor beta augments innate immunity to suppress cancer metastasis

Research Highlight

Turning lung metastases against themselves

© Science Photo Library/Getty

© Science Photo Library/Getty

Tumour cells that have separated from aggressive cancers and settled in the lungs can be destroyed by turning on a receptor that attracts killer immune cells, an international team led by Sichuan University have shown.

Studies have identified oestrogen receptor beta (ERβ) as a potential drug target for treating lung metastases from aggressive cancers, like triple-negative breast cancer and melanoma. The team gave mice with lung metastases from these two tumours the compound LY500307, which turns on ERβ. This released interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) from the tumour cells, which attracted cancer-killing white blood cells called neutrophils. The number of tumour nodules in the mice treated with LY500307 was significantly lower than in untreated mice, and they survived longer. 

These findings suggest that drugs that turn on this receptor could play a role in treating cancer patients with metastasis.

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  1. PNAS 115, E3673–E3681 (2018). doi: 10.1073/pnas.1803291115
Institutions Share
West China Second University Hospital of Sichuan University (WCSUH), SCU, China 0.39
Cancer Center, WCSM/WCH SCH, China 0.19
City University of Hong Kong (CityU), China 0.11
Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, China 0.05
West China School of Medicine/West China Hospital of Sichuan University (WCSM/WCH), SCU, China 0.05
Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), United States of America (USA) 0.05
Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center and Medical Offices, United States of America (USA) 0.05
University of Houston (UH), United States of America (USA) 0.05
Karolinska Institute (KI), Sweden 0.05