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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 147514, 14 pages
Research Article

The Exposure of Breast Cancer Cells to Fulvestrant and Tamoxifen Modulates Cell Migration Differently

Clinical Oncology Laboratory, Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Patras, Patras Medical School, 26504 Rio, Greece

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 10 June 2013

Academic Editor: Davide Vigetti

Copyright © 2013 Dionysia Lymperatou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is no doubt that there are increased benefits of hormonal therapy to breast cancer patients; however, current evidence suggests that estrogen receptor (ER) blockage using antiestrogens is associated with a small induction of invasiveness in vitro. The mechanism by which epithelial tumor cells escape from the primary tumor and colonize to a distant site is not entirely understood. This study investigates the effect of two selective antagonists of the ER, Fulvestrant (Fulv) and Tamoxifen (Tam), on the invasive ability of breast cancer cells. We found that 17β-estradiol (E2) demonstrated a protective role regarding cell migration and invasion. Fulv did not alter this effect while Tam stimulated active cell migration according to an increase in Snail and a decrease in E-cadherin protein expression. Furthermore, both tested agents increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and enhanced invasive potential of breast cancer cells. These changes were in line with focal adhesion kinase (FAK) rearrangement. Our data indicate that the anti-estrogens counteracted the protective role of E2 concerning migration and invasion since their effect was not limited to antiproliferative events. Although Fulv caused a less aggressive result compared to Tam, the benefits of hormonal therapy concerning invasion and metastasis yet remain to be investigated.