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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1992;22(1):21-9.

Insulin-like growth factor expression in breast cancer epithelium and stroma.

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Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007.


The insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are mitogens for many cancer cell types. In breast cancer cells, IGF-I and IGF-II have both been shown to stimulate cell proliferation. However, IGF-I mRNA has not been found in human breast cancer cell lines, making it unlikely that IGF-I is commonly expressed as an autocrine growth factor for breast cancer cells. Nevertheless, IGF-I mRNA can be detected in breast cancer tissue samples, and in situ hybridization studies have shown that the message originates from the stromal cells adjacent to normal lobules. IGF-II, on the other hand, has been detected in some breast cancer cell lines. In the estrogen receptor positive cell line T47-D, IGF-II mRNA was induced by estradiol. Furthermore, transfection of an IGF-II expression vector into a previously estrogen-dependent cell line resulted in hormone independent growth. Thus, IGF-II can be expressed as an autocrine growth factor in some breast cancers and its expression may, in part, result in hormone independence. Finally, stromal cells obtained from breast tissues showed that IGF-I was commonly expressed in fibroblasts derived from non-malignant biopsy specimens, while IGF-II mRNA was detected in fibroblasts adjacent to malignant tissue. These studies suggest that IGF-II expression may be important in both autocrine and paracrine regulation of breast cancer cell growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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