Autocrine stimulation by estradiol-regulated growth factors of rat hormone-responsive mammary cancer: Interaction with the polyamine pathway

Andrea Manni, Carol Wright, Peter Feil, Lino Baranao

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35 Scopus citations


We have recently shown that the integrity of the polyamine pathway is essential but not sufficient for expression of the mitogenic effect of estradiol (E2) in the N-nitrosomethylurea-induced rat mammary tumor grown in vitro in the soft agar clonogenic assay. To elucidate the mechanism of E2 action in this system, we tested whether E2 may stimulate tumor growth through induction of secretory growth factorf(s), as already proposed for human breast cancer cell lines in culture. Furthermore, we investigated the potential interaction between such “autocrine’’ control of tumor growth by E2 and the polyamine pathway. Conditioned medium obtained from E2-treated tumors (E2-CM) but not from control tumors (C-CM) consistently stimulated colony formation when added to N-nitrosomethylurea-mammary tumors plated in soft agar under serum-free media conditions. Such growth-promoting effects of the E2-CM was found to increase with increasing protein concentrations of the medium and was abolished by pretreatment of the medium with concanavalin A, heat, and trypsin. The addition of the polyamine biosynthetic inhibitor a-difluoromethylornithine (1 mm) totally abolished the colony-stimulating effect of the E2-CM. Exogenous administration of spermidine (0.1 mM) reversed the inhibitory effect of α-difluoromethylornithine on colony formation and restored the action of the E2-CM. Although the addition of polyamines alone did not affect the number of colonies formed, the administration of spermidine was found to significantly enhance in a dose-dependent fashion the colony-stimulating effect of suboptimal concentrations of E2-CM. Attempts to identify the Er inducible growth factor in the E2-CM and in N-nitrosomethylurea-mammary tumor specimens using monoclonal antibodies raised against the Mr 52,000 E2-inducible protein gave negative results. We conclude that autocrine stimulation of tumor growth by E2 is not limited to human breast cancer cell lines but also occurs in individual experimental mammary tumors grown in soft agar. Our results show that the polyamines must be present for the expression of this “autocrine” control of tumor growth by E2. Finally, the identity of the E2-induced growth factor operating in our system remains to be determined. copyright.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1594-1598
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
StatePublished - Apr 1 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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