It is speculated that estrogens play important roles in the male breast carcinoma (MBC) as well as the female breast carcinoma (FBC). However, estrogen concentrations or molecular features of estrogen actions have not been reported in MBC, and biological significance of estrogens remains largely unclear in MBC. Therefore, we examined intratumoral estrogen concentrations, estrogen receptor (ER) α/ERβ status, and expression profiles of estrogen-induced genes in MBC tissues, and compared these with FBC. 17β-Estradiol concentration in MBC (n = 4) was significantly (14-fold) higher than that in non-neoplastic male breast (n = 3) and tended to be higher than that in FBC (n = 7). Results of microarray analysis clearly demonstrated that expression profiles of the two gene lists, which were previously reported as estrogen-induced genes in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cell line, were markedly different between MBC and FBC. In the immunohistochemistry, MBC tissues were frequently positive for aromatase (63 %) and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (67 %), but not for steroid sulfatase (6.7 %). A great majority (77 %) of MBC showed positive for both ERα and ERβ, and its frequency was significantly higher than FBC cases. These results suggest that estradiol is locally produced in MBC tissue by aromatase. Different expression profiles of the estrogen-induced genes may associate with different estrogen functions in MBC from FBC, which may be partly due to their ERα/ERβ status.
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