Screening for ESR mutations in breast and ovarian cancer patients.
In the present study, leukocyte DNA from 143 patients with familial clustering of breast and/or ovarian cancer and tumour DNA from 96 breast carcinomas were screened for base mutations in the estrogen receptor gene (ESR). Three patients with a family history of cancer were carrying a Gly160Cys germline substitution. This alteration was also detected in eight (four females and four males) of 729 controls (366 female, 363 males), indicating that the substitution probably represents a polymorphism. However, in the 229 female controls in whom family history of cancer was known, one of two who had a sister with breast cancer was carrying the variant allele. Hence, a possible clinical significance of the glycine into cysteine cannot be completely ruled out and should be further investigated. Somatic mutations were not detected in any of the tumours studied, and the present data do not provide support for somatic ESR base mutations as an important mechanism for hormonal therapy resistance in estrogen receptor-positive breast carcinomas.