Understanding mechanisms of glucocorticoid receptor modulation of estrogen receptor activity in breast cancer

Human stress hormone (glucocorticoids) and our reproductive hormones such as estrogen are tightly linked. One long-term goal for Dr. Conzen’s lab is to understand how the estrogen receptors (ERs) and glucocorticoid hormone receptors (GRs) interact in cancer cells, as a way to both treat and predict cancer.

Hormone receptors are proteins expressed in breast cancer cells that receive signals from chemicals such as estrogen, a female hormone, and from cortisol, our stress hormone. With this project, Dr. Conzen proposes to investigate how glucocorticoid receptor manipulation with specific GR modulators can slow breast cancer growth, even in ER+ breast cancers, where cancer cells have adapted to express a mutated ER and the cancer no longer responds to anti-ER breast cancer treatments like tamoxifen. Understanding how GR stops ER activity in breast cancer will help to develop new treatments for breast cancer patients and we hope it will provide valuable treatments for ER-positive breast cancer.

Learn more about the Conzen Lab