27-Hydroxycholesterol Binds GPER and Induces Progression of Estrogen Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer

Paola Avena, Ivan Casaburi, Lucia Zavaglia, Marta C. Nocito, Davide La Padula, Vittoria Rago, Jing Dong, Peter Thomas, Chieko Mineo, Rosa Sirianni, Philip W. Shaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Cholesterol affects the proliferation of breast cancer (BC) and in particular of estrogen receptor-negative (ER−) BC. Cholesterol is converted to 27-hydroxycholesterol (27HC), which promotes the growth of ER+ BC. Potentially, 27HC can be involved in cholesterol-dependent ER− BC proliferation. Stable MDA-MB-231 silenced clones for CYP7B1 (27HC metabolizing enzyme) show an increased basal proliferation rate, which is not observed in the presence of lipoprotein-deprived serum. Furthermore, the treatment of SKBR3, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 with 27HC increased cell proliferation that was prevented by G15, a selective G Protein-Coupled Estrogen Receptor (GPER) inhibitor, suggested this receptor to be a potential 27HC target. Binding experiments demonstrate that 27HC is a new ligand for GPER. We show that ERK1/2 and NFκB are part of the 27HC/GPER path-way. The stable silencing of GPER prevents NFκB activation and reduces basal and 27HC-dependent tumor growth. Additionally, conditioned medium from ER− BC cells treated with 27HC promotes tube formation, which does not occur with CM from GPER silenced cells. Collectively, these data demonstrate that cholesterol conversion into 27HC promotes ER− BC growth and progression, and the expression of GPER is required for its effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1521
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • 27-hydroxycholesterol
  • Angiogenesis
  • Breast cancer
  • GPER

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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