Tumor suppressor ING4 inhibits estrogen receptor activity in breast cancer cells

Madeline M. Keenen, Suwon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Resistance to antiestrogen therapy remains a significant problem in breast cancer. Low expression of inhibitor of growth 4 (ING4) in primary tumors has been correlated with increased rates of recurrence in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer patients, suggesting a role for ING4 in ER signaling. This study provides evidence that ING4 inhibits ER activity. ING4 overexpression increased the sensitivity of T47D and MCF7 ER+ breast cancer cells to hormone deprivation. ING4 attenuated maximal estrogen-dependent cell growth without affecting the dose-response of estrogen. These results indicated that ING4 functions as a noncompetitive inhibitor of estrogen signaling and may inhibit estrogen-independent ER activity. Supportive of this, treatment with fulvestrant but not tamoxifen rendered T47D cells sensitive to hormone deprivation as did ING4 overexpression. ING4 did not affect nuclear ERα protein expression, but repressed selective ER-target gene transcription. Taken together, these results demonstrated that ING4 inhibited estrogen-independent ER activity, suggesting that ING4-low breast tumors recur faster due to estrogen-independent ER activity that renders tamoxifen less effective. This study puts forth fulvestrant as a proposed therapy choice for patients with ING4-low ER+ breast tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-221
Number of pages11
JournalBreast Cancer: Targets and Therapy
StatePublished - Nov 17 2016


  • Estrogen independent ERa
  • Fulvestrant
  • PDZK1
  • TFF1
  • Tamoxifen resistance
  • Transcription repression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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