Breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy and second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Despite advances in genetic and biochemical analyses, the incidence of breast cancer and its associated mortality remain very high. About 60-70% of breast cancers are Estrogen Receptor alpha (ER) positive and are dependent on estrogen for growth. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) have therefore provided an effective targeted therapy to treat ER positive breast cancer patients. Unfortunately, development of resistance to endocrine therapy is frequent and leads to cancer recurrence. Our understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in the development of ER positive tumors and their resistance to ER antagonists is currently limited due to lack of experimental models of ER positive breast cancer. In most mouse models of breast cancer, the tumors that form are typically ER-negative and independent of estrogen for their growth. However, in recent years more attention has been given to develop mouse models that develop different subtypes of breast cancers, including ER-positive tumors. In this review, we discuss the currently available mouse models that develop ER positive mammary tumors and their potential use to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of ER positive breast cancer development and endocrine resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalJournal of Carcinogenesis
StatePublished - 2011


  • Breast cancer
  • estrogen receptor
  • mouse models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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