CRK7 modifies the MAPK pathway and influences the response to endocrine therapy.
Endocrine therapies, which inhibit estrogen receptor (ER)alpha signaling, are the most common and effective treatment for ERalpha-positive breast cancer. However, the use of these agents is limited by the frequent development of resistance. The cyclin-dependent kinase family member CRK7 (aka CRKRS) was identified from an RNA interference screen for modifiers of tamoxifen sensitivity. Here, we demonstrate that silencing of CRK7 not only causes resistance to tamoxifen but also leads to resistance to additional endocrine therapies including ICI 182780 and estrogen deprivation, a model of aromatase inhibition. We show that CRK7 silencing activates the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-signaling pathway, which causes a loss of ER dependence, resulting in endocrine therapy resistance. This study identifies a novel role for CRK7 in MAPK regulation and resistance to estrogen signaling inhibitors.