WARF: P03001US

Estrogen-Related Receptor Gamma, a Breast Cancer Biomarker and Target for Treatment


Janet Mertz, Eric Ariazi

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing methods for using ERR-gamma as a breast cancer biomarker and treatment target.
OVERVIEWEstrogen receptor-alpha (ER-alpha) has become the single most important biomarker and target for breast cancer therapy. The human estrogen-related receptor gamma (ERR-gamma) is an orphan receptor that shares significant amino acid sequence identity with ER-alpha.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed methods for using ERR-gamma as both a breast cancer biomarker and a target for treatment. As a biomarker, it provides a method of determining a patient’s breast cancer prognosis. Expression levels of ERR-gamma are analyzed along with the status of other genes related to breast cancer to help breast cancer patients and their doctors make treatment choices. A high level of ERR-gamma in breast cancer cells indicates good prognosis and a high likelihood of being sensitive to hormonal blockade therapy such as tamoxifen therapy. The receptor also provides a target for treating breast cancer, which involves decreasing the activity of ERR-gamma in breast cancer cells.
  • Determining breast cancer prognosis
  • Provides a breast cancer treatment target 
  • May help breast cancer patients make more informed treatment choices
  • Provides a method of categorizing breast cancer patients for treatment purposes
  • Screening for mutations in the ERR-gamma gene could provide a means to rapidly identify patients needing further examination for breast cancer.
  • Measuring the expression of ERR-gamma in breast tissue suspected of being cancerous may help diagnose breast cancer.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jennifer Gottwald at or 608-960-9854.
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