Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women worldwide. Several studies indicate that, in addition to established risk factors for breast cancer, other factors such as cortisol release related to psychological stress and drug treatment with high levels of glucocorticoids may also contribute significantly to the initiation of breast cancer. There are several possible mechanisms by which glucocorticoids might promote neoplastic transformation of breast tissue. Among these, the least known and studied is the inhibition of the nuclear erythroid factor 2-related (Nrf2)-antioxidant/electrophile response element (ARE/EpRE) pathway by high levels of glucocorticoids. Specifically, Nrf2 is a potent transcriptional activator that plays a central role in the basal and inducible expression of many cytoprotective genes that effectively protect mammalian cells from various forms of stress and reduce the propensity of tissues and organisms to develop disease or malignancy including breast cancer. Consequently, a loss of Nrf2 in response to high levels of gluco-corticoids may lead to a decrease in cellular defense against oxidative stress, which plays an important role in the initiation of human mammary carcinogenesis. In the present review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge of the cellular mechanisms by which both glucocorticoid pharmacotherapy and endogenous GCs (cortisol in humans and corticosterone in rodents) may contribute to breast cancer development through inhibition of the Nrf2-ARE/EpRE pathway and the protective role of melatonin against glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in the immune system.

Potential Mechanisms by which Glucocorticoids Induce Breast Carcinogenesis through Nrf2 Inhibition

Giudice, Aldo
;
Aliberti, Silvana Mirella
;
Barbieri, Antonio;D'Arena, Giovanni;Caraglia, Michele;Capunzo, Mario
2022

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women worldwide. Several studies indicate that, in addition to established risk factors for breast cancer, other factors such as cortisol release related to psychological stress and drug treatment with high levels of glucocorticoids may also contribute significantly to the initiation of breast cancer. There are several possible mechanisms by which glucocorticoids might promote neoplastic transformation of breast tissue. Among these, the least known and studied is the inhibition of the nuclear erythroid factor 2-related (Nrf2)-antioxidant/electrophile response element (ARE/EpRE) pathway by high levels of glucocorticoids. Specifically, Nrf2 is a potent transcriptional activator that plays a central role in the basal and inducible expression of many cytoprotective genes that effectively protect mammalian cells from various forms of stress and reduce the propensity of tissues and organisms to develop disease or malignancy including breast cancer. Consequently, a loss of Nrf2 in response to high levels of gluco-corticoids may lead to a decrease in cellular defense against oxidative stress, which plays an important role in the initiation of human mammary carcinogenesis. In the present review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge of the cellular mechanisms by which both glucocorticoid pharmacotherapy and endogenous GCs (cortisol in humans and corticosterone in rodents) may contribute to breast cancer development through inhibition of the Nrf2-ARE/EpRE pathway and the protective role of melatonin against glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in the immune system.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4800591
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