HNRNP G and HTRA2-BETA1 regulate estrogen receptor alpha expression with potential impact on endometrial cancer

Marc Hirschfeld, Yi Qin Ouyang, Markus Jaeger, Thalia Erbes, Marzenna Orlowska-Volk, Axel Zur Hausen, Elmar Stickeler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Estrogen receptor alpha (ERa/ESR1) expression is regulated by alternative splicing. Its most frequently detectable exon7 skipping isoform (ERaD7) is a dominant negative variant. Elevated expression of ERaD7 was already detected in endometrial cancer (EC), while its potential prognostic significance has not been characterized so far. Exon7 contains potential binding sites for the two functional splicing regulatory opponents, HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 known to trigger opposite effects on EC outcome. This study served to elucidate the influence of HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 on ERa exon7 splicing regulation and the impact of ERaD7 concentration on type 1 EC outcome. Methods: Functional in vitro experiments for HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 in regard to the regulatory impact on endogenous and exogenous ERaD7 splicing were performed. Additionally, real-time PCR determined mRNA levels of ERaD7, HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 in 116 type 1 EC patients. Results: HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 were found to be specific regulators of ERa exon7 splicing. While HTRA2-BETA1 promoted exon7 inclusion, HNRNPG antagonized this effect by inducing exon7 skipping (p = 0.004). ERaD7 was detected in 71 out of 116 type 1 EC specimens. Statistical analyses revealed an inverse correlation between ERaD7 mRNA levels and tumor grading (p = 0.029), FIGO stage (p = 0.033) as well as lymph node metastases (p = 0.032), respectively. Furthermore, higher ERaD7 expression could be correlated to an improved disease-specific survival (p = 0.034). Conclusions: Our study demonstrates antagonistic regulatory effects of HNRNPG and HTRA2-BETA1 on ERa exon7 splicing with potential impact on type 1 EC clinical outcome due to the consecutively variable expression levels of the ERa isoform D7.
Original languageEnglish
Article number86
JournalBMC Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2015


  • Estrogen receptor alpha
  • Endometrial carcinoma
  • Prognostic significance
  • Alternative splicing

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