Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The detection of human anti-estrogen receptor α antibodies (ERαABs) inducing estrogenic responses in MCF-7 mammary tumor cells suggests their implication in breast cancer emergence and/or evolution. A recent report revealing a correlation between the titer of such antibodies in sera from patients suffering from this disease and the percentage of proliferative cells in samples taken from their tumors supports this concept. Complementary evidence of the ability of ERαABs to interact with an epitope localized within the estradiol-binding core of ERα also argues in its favor. This epitope is indeed inserted in a regulatory platform implicated in ERα-initiated signal transduction pathways and transcriptions. According to some experimental observations, two auto-immune reactions may already be advocated to explain the emergence of ERαABs: one involving probably the idiotypic network to produce antibodies acting as estrogenic secretions and the other based on antibodies able to abrogate the action of a natural ERα inhibitor or to prevent the competitive inhibitory potency of released receptor degradation products able to entrap circulating estrogens and co-activators. All of this information, the aspect of which is mainly fundamental, may open new ways in the current tendency to combine immunological and endocrine approaches for the management of breast cancer.