Regulation of steroid sulphatase expression and activity in breast cancer.
Newman SP., Purohit A., Ghilchik MW., Potter BV., Reed MJ.
Steroid sulphatase (STS) catalyzes the conversion of oestrone sulphate (E1S) to oestrone (E1) and its action in breast tumours makes a major contribution to in situ oestrogen production in this tissue. Although expression of STS mRNA and STS activity are increased in malignant breast tissues compared with that in non-malignant tissues, little is known about the regulation of its expression or activity. In the present study we have used a RT-PCR technique to investigate the regulation of STS mRNA expression in cultured breast tissue fibroblasts and MCF-7 cells. STS mRNA expression was readily detectable in fibroblasts derived from breast tissue proximal to tumours, breast tumour tissue and reduction mammoplasty tissue. For two pre-menopausal subjects, STS mRNA expression was similar in proximal and tumour fibroblasts whereas for a third, post-menopausal subject, expression in breast tumour fibroblasts was 2.4-fold that in proximal fibroblasts. The cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) or the STS inhibitor, 2-methoxyoestrone-3-O-sulphamate, had no effect on STS mRNA expression in fibroblasts. STS mRNA was detectable in MCF-7 cells but neither TNFalpha nor interleukin 6 (IL-6) affected its expression. Transient transfection of COS-1 and MCF-7 cells with a STS cDNA lacking STS 5' and 3' sequences increased activity 17-fold and 2-fold, respectively. TNFalpha plus IL-6 increased STS activity in mock transfected MCF-7 cells and further increased STS activity in transfected MCF-7 cells. This indicates that activation can occur independently of STS promoter and enhancer elements. In conjunction with the lack of regulation of STS mRNA it suggest that TNFalpha and IL-6 may increase STS activity via a post-translational modification of the enzyme or by increasing substrate availability.