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Int J Mol Med. 2007 May;19(5):741-50.

Gene expression signature of parathion-transformed human breast epithelial cells.

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Institute for Advanced Research, Tarapaca University, Arica, Chile.


Environmental substances seem to be involved in the etiology of breast cancers. Many studies have found an association between human cancer and exposure to agricultural pesticides such as the organophosphorous pesticides. Parathion is a cholinesterase inhibitor that induces the hydrolysis of body choline esters, including acetylcholine at cholinergic synapses. The primary target of action in insects is the nervous system whereby pesticides inhibit the release of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase at the synaptic junction. Atropine is a parasympatholytic alkaloid used as an antidote to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of parathion and atropine on cell transformation of human breast epithelial cells in vitro. These studies showed that parathion alone was able to induce malignant transformation of an immortalized human breast epithelial cell line, MCF-10F as indicated by increased cell proliferation, anchorage independency and invasive capabilities. There was also an increase in c-kit, Trio, Rho-A, Rac-3, EGFR, Notch-4, Dvl-2, Ezrin, beta catenin and mutant p53 protein expression in the parathion-treated cells. However, atropine significantly inhibited this increase. In a human cell cycle array of 96 genes, 13 of them were altered by parathion treatment. Among the genes affected were the cyclins, such as cyclin D3, the cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) such as CDK41 and the minichromosome maintenance deficient (MCM) MCM2 and MCM3. It is suggested that parathion influences human breast epithelial cell transformation and is an initiator factor in the transformation process in breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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