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The purpose of this study was to investigate the differential expression and function of organic anion-transporting polypeptides (OATPs) in breast epithelial and breast cancer cells. Estrone-3-sulfate (E3S), a substrate for 7 of 11 OATPs, is a predominant source of tumor estrogen in postmenopausal, hormone-dependent patients with breast cancer. Overexpression of certain OATPs (e.g., OATP1A2) reported in breast tumor tissues compared with surrounding normal tissues could contribute toward two to three times higher tumoral E3S concentration. Little is known about expression and function of other OATP family members among breast epithelial and breast cancer cells. We therefore compared gene and protein expression of seven OATPs (OATP1A2, OATP1B1, OATP1B3, OATP1C1, OATP2B1, OATP3A1, and OATP4A1) in immortalized breast epithelial cells (MCF10A), hormone-dependent breast cancer cells (MCF7), and hormone-independent breast cancer cells (MDA/LCC6-435, MDA-MB-231, and MDA-MB-468) by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting, respectively. Expression of solute carrier superfamily encoding for OATPs (SLCO) 1A2, 1B1, 1B3, 2B1, and 3A1 is exclusive, similar, or significantly higher in cancer cells compared with MCF10A cells. Protein expression of OATPs is found to be either exclusive or higher in cancer cells compared with MCF10A cells. Specificity of OATP-mediated E3S uptake is observed only in cancer cells, with the highest total uptake in MCF7 cells. Transport kinetics of E3S uptake demonstrates transport efficiency that is 10 times greater in the MCF7 cells than in the hormone-independent cells. These data suggest that OATPs could be a novel therapeutic target for hormone-dependent breast cancers, particularly in postmenopausal patients, where the major source of tumor estrogen is E3S.


Nilasha Banerjee, Christine Allen, Reina Bendayan. Differential role of organic anion-transporting polypeptides in estrone-3-sulphate uptake by breast epithelial cells and breast cancer cells. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. 2012 Aug;342(2):510-9

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PMID: 22588260

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