Estrogens are considered as a major risk factor of endometrial cancer. In this study, we identified a mechanism of tumorigenesis in which K-Ras protein is stabilized via estrogen signaling through the ER-a36 receptor. PKCδ was shown to stabilize K-Ras specifically via estrogen signaling. Estrogens stabilize K-Ras via inhibition of polyubiquitylation-dependent proteasomal degradation. Estrogen-induced cellular transformation was abolished by either K-Ras or PKCδ knockdown. The role of PKCδ in estrogen-induced tumorigenesis was confirmed in a mouse xenograft model by reduction of tumors after treatment with rottlerin, a PKCδ inhibitor. Finally, levels of PKCδ correlated with that of Ras in human endometrial tumor tissues. Stabilization of K-Ras by estrogen signaling involving PKCδ up-regulation provides a potential therapeutic approach for treatment of endometrial cancer.
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