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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Aug 1987; 84(16): 5763–5767.
PMCID: PMC298943

Synthesis and secretion of platelet-derived growth factor by human breast cancer cell lines.


We report that human breast cancer cells secrete a growth factor that is biologically and immunologically similar to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF). Serum-free medium conditioned by estrogen-independent MDA-MB-231 or estrogen-dependent MCF-7 cells contains a mitogenic or "competence" activity that is capable of inducing incorporation of [3H]thymidine into quiescent Swiss 3T3 cells in the presence of platelet-poor plasma. In addition, the conditioned medium contains an activity that competes with 125I-labeled PDGF for binding to PDGF receptors on normal human fibroblasts. The secretion of PDGF-like activity by the hormone-responsive cell line MCF-7 is stimulated by 17 beta-estradiol. Like authentic PDGF, the PDGF-like activity produced by breast cancer cells is stable after acid and heat treatment (95 degrees C) and inhibited by reducing agents. The mitogenic activity comigrates with a material of approximately equal to 30 kDa on NaDodSO4/polyacrylamide gels. Immunoprecipitation with PDGF antiserum of proteins from metabolically labeled cell lysates and conditioned medium followed by analysis on nonreducing NaDodSO4/polyacrylamide gels identified proteins of 30 and 34 kDa. Upon reduction, the 30- and 34-kDa bands were converted to 15- and 16-kDa bands suggesting that the immunoprecipitated proteins were made up of two disulfide-linked polypeptides similar to PDGF. Hybridization studies with cDNA probes for the A chain of PDGF and the B chain of PDGF/SIS identified transcripts for both PDGF chains in the MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. The data summarized above provide conclusive evidence for the synthesis and hormonally regulated secretion of a PDGF-like mitogen by breast carcinoma cells. Production of a PDGF-like growth factor by breast cancer cell lines may be important in mediating paracrine stimulation of tumor growth.

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