Transforming growth factor beta 1 can induce estrogen-independent tumorigenicity of human breast cancer cells in athymic mice.

C. L. Arteaga, T. Carty-Dugger, H. L. Moses, S. D. Hurd, J. A. Pietenpol

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139 Scopus citations


We have examined the effect of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) overexpression in human breast cancer cell tumorigenicity in athymic mice. Estrogen-dependent MCF-7 cells were stably transfected with pSVTGF beta 1. A clone was isolated which overexpressed TGF-beta 1 mRNA and secreted > 10-fold more TGF-beta activity into the tissue culture medium. Similar to the parent line, the MCF-7/TGF-beta 1 cells were relatively insensitive to exogenous TGF-beta 1 and exhibited low levels of TGF-beta receptors. Clonogenicity in soft agarose, doubling time, morphology, and sensitivity to 17 beta-estradiol and the antiestrogen tamoxifen were not altered in the transfected cells. Inoculation s.c. of MCF-7/TGF-beta 1 cells in ovariectomized nude mice resulted in 100% tumor formation which was totally abrogated by i.p. administration of the neutralizing anti-TGF-beta 2G7 IgG2B. The parent cells formed tumors only after estrogen supplementation. By immunohistochemistry, higher levels of TGF-beta 1 protein were detected in MCF-7/TGF-beta 1 tumors than in estrogen-induced parent MCF-7 tumors. Administration of 1 microgram TGF-beta 1 i.p. daily for 3 weeks after tumor cell inoculation transiently supported estrogen-independent growth of parent MCF-7 tumors in castrated nude mice. These data indicate that overexpression of TGF-beta 1 in human breast cancer cells can contribute to their escape from hormone dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-201
Number of pages9
JournalCell growth & differentiation : the molecular biology journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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