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Environ Health Perspect. Sep 1995; 103(9): 844–850.
PMCID: PMC1519213
Research Article

The E-screen assay: a comparison of different MCF7 cell stocks.

Abstract

MCF7 human breast cancer cells have been studied extensively as a model for hormonal effects on breast cancer cell growth and specific protein synthesis. Because the proliferative effect of natural estrogen is considered the hallmark of estrogen action, it was proposed that this property be used to determine whether a substance is an estrogen. The E-screen assay, developed for this purpose, is based on the ability of MCF7 cells to proliferate in the presence of estrogens. The aim of our study was to characterize the response of four MCF7 cell stocks (BUS, ATCC, BB, and BB104) and determine which of them performed best in the E-screen test. The four stocks assayed were distinguishable by their biological behavior. In the absence of estrogen, MCF7 BUS cells stopped proliferating and accumulated in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle; estrogen receptors increased, progesterone receptors decreased, and small amounts of pS2 protein were secreted. Of all the MCF7 stocks tested, MCF7 BUS cells showed the highest proliferative response to estradiol-17 beta: cell yields increased up to sixfold over those of nontreated cells in a 144-hr period. The differences between estrogen-supplemented and nonsupplemented MCF7 BUS cells were due mostly to G0/G1 proliferative arrest mediated by charcoal dextran-stripped serum. MCF7 BUS cell stocks and others showing a similar proliferative pattern should be chosen for use in the E-screen test, or whenever a proliferative effect of estrogen is to be demonstrated.

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Selected References

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