Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 8, pp 8179–8192 | Cite as

Metabolic differences in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer based on androgen receptor status

  • Songmi Noh
  • Ji-Ye Kim
  • Ja Seung Koo
Research Article


This study investigated the relationship between steroid hormone receptor signaling and cellular metabolism in tumorigenesis by examining the expression of metabolic proteins with respect to androgen receptor (AR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER-2) status in estrogen receptor-negative (ER−) breast cancer. ER− breast cancer cases (n = 334) were selected from a microarray analysis, including those that were AR+ and AR− (n = 127 and 207, respectively) and HER-2+ and HER-2− (n = 140 and 194, respectively). The expression of proteins involved in glycolysis, glutaminolysis, and mitochondrial and intermediary (i.e., serine/glycine) metabolism was determined by immunohistochemistry and correlated with AR and HER-2 status. The expression of several proteins involved in glycolysis, glutaminolysis, and serine/glycine metabolism was higher (p < 0.01) in the AR− than in the AR+ group. In the former, the expression of the glycolytic protein carbonic anhydrase (CA)IX was associated with a shorter disease-free survival period (p = 0.029) and overall survival rate (p = 0.001). In a multivariate Cox analysis, immunoreactivity for CAIX (hazard ratio 15.89, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.820–131.6; p = 0.010) was an independent factor in predicting the survival of the AR+ group. In conclusion, differential expression patterns of metabolism-related proteins were noted in ER− breast cancer according to AR status. These findings highlight the link between hormone receptor signaling and metabolic pathways whose dysregulation could underlie breast tumorigenesis.


Androgen receptor Breast cancer Metabolism 



This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2012R1A1A1002886). This study was supported by a grant from National R&D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (1420080).

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

13277_2014_2103_MOESM1_ESM.doc (50 kb)
Supplementary table 1 Expression of metabolism-related proteins according to AR and HER-2 status in ER − breast cancer (DOC 49 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyYonsei University College of MedicineSeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, CHA Gangnam Medical CenterCHA UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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