Polyamine Involvement in the Growth of Hormone-responsive and -resistant Human Breast Cancer Cells in Culture

Patricia Glikman, Andrea Manni, Laurence Demers, Mary Bartholomew

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42 Scopus citations


Recent evidence indicates that hormone-responsive but not -resistant human breast cancer cells in culture are sensitive to the antiproliferative effect of the polyamine (PA) biosynthetic inhibitor a-difluoromethylor-nithine (DFMO). The present experiments were designed to investigate the potential differential involvement of the PA pathway in the growth of these different biological subtypes of human breast cancer. Thus, we evaluated the effect of DFMO on proliferation, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity, and PA levels of the hormone-dependent MCF-7 and -independent MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines. When tested at comparable cell density, the two cell lines had similar levels of ODC activity and PA. Administration of DFMO (0.01, 0.1, 1, 4 mm) for 6 days caused a similar dose-dependent inhibition of proliferation (up to approximately 15% of control) associated with suppression of ODC activity to undetectable levels at the highest dose. In both cell lines, putrescine and spermidine levels were maximally suppressed by doses of DFMO > 0.1 mM. Higher doses of DFMO (1 and 4 mM) also suppressed spermine levels to approximately 60% of control. In detailed time-course studies, DFMO administration (0.1 mM) similarly suppressed by 80% the rise in ODC observed in both cell lines following a medium change. At all time points, putrescine and spermidine levels were likewise suppressed to a similar extent. Addition of putrescine (0.1-2.5 mM) to DFMO-treated cells repleted cellular PA levels and restored growth to approximately 80% of control in both cell lines. We conclude that, under these experimental conditions, PA are similarly involved in the growth of the hormone-responsive MCF-7 and -resistant MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1371-1376
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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