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Cancer Res. 2004 Jul 1;64(13):4677-84.

Decreased expression of early growth response-1 and its role in uterine leiomyoma growth.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kanazawa University School of Medicine, Kanazawa, Japan.


Expression of early growth response (Egr)-1, a transcriptional factor implicated in growth regulation, is suppressed in several malignant tumors. The present study investigated the expression of Egr-1 and related genes in uterine leiomyoma and normal myometrium to determine possible contributions of Egr-1 to neoplastic growth in leiomyoma cells. Levels of Egr-1 transcripts were decreased in all leiomyomas (n = 20) to approximately 10% of levels in corresponding myometrium, where basal expression was high. Preoperative leuprorelin acetate therapy increased levels of Egr-1 mRNA in normal myometrium only. Northern blot analysis using additional sample sets (n = 5) revealed the full-length Egr-1 transcript. Western blot analysis (n = 5) confirmed decreased expression of Egr-1 protein. Southern blot analysis of the Egr-1 gene and microsatellite analysis of the chromosomal location at 5q31 (D5S414, D5S500, and D5S476) revealed neither DNA recombination nor loss of heterozygosity in leiomyomas. Moreover, Egr-1 retained identical responsiveness to phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate in primary cultures derived from both leiomyoma and normal tissues. Electrophoretic mobility shift analysis revealed that phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced Egr-1 in leiomyoma cells retained DNA binding ability. Egr-1 thus appears functionally intact in leiomyoma cells. Finally, consistent with the role of Egr-1 in growth inhibition, transfection of Egr-1 expression vector into a myometrial cell line (KW) that expresses low levels of Egr-1 and displays rapid growth inhibited thymidine uptake in these cells. Egr-1 may display tumor-suppressing activity and offers a potential target for leiomyoma management.

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