Alcohol is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer. One of several proposed mechanisms is that alcohol-related breast cancer is caused by increased sex hormone levels. PPARγ inhibits aromatase transcription in breast adipocytes. We reproduced previously found allele-specific effects of the wildtype Pro-allele of PPARG Pro12Ala in alcohol related breast cancer. In transiently transfected cells, transcriptional activation by PPARγ and the PPARγ-PGC-1α complex was inhibited by ethanol. PPARγ 12Ala-mediated transcription activation was not enhanced by PGC-1α, resulting in allele-specific transcription activation by the PPARγ 12Pro-PGC-1α complex.
Our results suggest that PPARγ and PGC-1α activity is an important determinant of alcohol related breast cancer.