Voelcker Academy

Research Symposium 2012


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Jocelyn E. Hernandez

Natural Estrogen Receptor Beta Agonists in the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Jocelyn E. Hernandez

Mentor(s): Ratna K. Vadlamudi, PhD


  • Arises from the abnormal proliferation of cells
  • Divide (mitosis) uncontrollably and accumulate by not undergoing apoptosis
  • Cancer cells lack of contact inhibition
  • Malignant cells invade other organs by entering blood or lymph vessels (metastasis)


  • 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths
  • Broadly classified as estrogen receptor positive or negative
  • Estrogen is a steroid molecule
  • Estrogen binds estrogen receptor (ERa & ERb)
  • Ligand bound ERa recruits co-regulator molecules and activates genes for cell proliferation and for other physiological processes
  • Coregulators influence key points in the estrogen receptor signaling
  • Coregulators deregulation provide the cancer cells an advantage in survival, growth and metastasis
  • Tumor cells over express some coregulator proteins
  • ERb represses transcription of ERa target genes and its functions
  • ERa +ve breast cancer cells are addicted to estrogen
  • Deprivation of estrogen or competitive inhibition of estrogen binding to the receptor alpha is a promising therapeutic strategy