Role of polyamines in the growth of hormone-responsive and - resistant human breast cancer cells in nude mice

Andrea Manni, Betty Badger, Juliann Martel, Laurence Demers

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Recent in vitro data suggest that at least some hormone-independent breast cancer cells exhibit increased polyamine biosynthesis and resistance to antipolyamine therapy. To address this issue under conditions of in vivo growth, we tested the antiproliferative effect of the polyamine synthetic inhibitor α-difluoromethyl-ornithine (DFMO) on hormone-dependent (MCF-7) and -independent (MDA-MB-231, BT-20) breast cancer cell lines growing in nude mice. We observed that DFMO significantly inhibited the growth of established tumors to a similar extent in all cell lines, even though tumor regression was only observed with MCF-7 cells. DFMO, while inhibiting E2-supported MCF-7 breast cancer growth, did not inhibit E2-stimulated progesterone receptor synthesis. Cellular levels of polyamines were highest in MCF-7 cells and lowest in the BT-20 cell line. Tumor content of spermidine was similarly suppressed by DFMO treatment in the 3 cell lines, while the spermine level was unaffected. Cellular putrescine levels were suppressed in MCF-7 and BT-20 cells. Administration of DFMO prior to implantation of fragments of MCF-7 or MDA-MB-231 tumors in nude mice significantly inhibited tumor development to a similar extent. The action of DFMO seemed to be predominantly tumoristatic since new tumors develop in some mice upon discontinuation of the drug. We conclude that the hormone-independent breast cancer cell lines tested do not exhibit increased polyamine biosynthesis or resistance to antipolyamine therapy when grown in vivo in nude mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 14 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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