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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 29;91(7):2790-4.

Amphiregulin as an autocrine growth factor for c-Ha-ras- and c-erbB-2-transformed human mammary epithelial cells.

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  • 1Tumor Growth Factor Section, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Amphiregulin (AR), a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family, was found to be as potent as EGF in stimulating the anchorage-dependent growth (ADG) of immortalized, nontransformed human mammary epithelial MCF-10A cells. MCF-10A cells transformed by either an activated human c-Ha-ras protooncogene (MCF-10A ras) or by overexpression of a nonactivated rat c-neu gene (MCF-10A neu) exhibited a 35% reduction in the response to AR in ADG when compared to MCF-10A cells, but AR was still as potent as EGF in these transformants. Exogenous AR exhibited only 15-20% of the activity of EGF in stimulating the anchorage-independent growth, a response that is normally dependent upon exogenous EGF, of the oncogene-transformed MCF-10A cells. MCF-10A cells express low levels of a 1.4-kb AR mRNA transcript, while MCF-10A ras and MCF-10A neu cells display a 15- to 30-fold increase in the levels of AR mRNA and endogenous AR protein as determined by Western blot analysis. Exogenous EGF was found to induced both the AR mRNA and protein in the MCF-10A parental and transformed cells. A 20-mer phosphorothioate antisense deoxyoligonucleotide complementary to the 5' sequence of AR mRNA was able to significantly reduce the levels of endogenous AR protein and to inhibit the EGF-stimulated ADG and anchorage-independent growth of MCF-10A ras and MCF-10A neu cells. These data suggest that AR may function as an EGF-dependent autocrine growth factor in mammary epithelial cells that have been transformed by either a point-mutated c-Ha-ras or c-neu.

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