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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Sep;84(18):6563-6.

Induction of tumor necrosis factor expression and resistance in a human breast tumor cell line.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a polypeptide cytokine that is cytotoxic to some but not all tumor cells. The basis for resistance to the cytotoxic effects of this agent remains unclear. We have studied the development of TNF resistance in human ZR-75-1 breast carcinoma cells. ZR-75-1 cells have undetectable levels of TNF RNA and protein. However, TNF transcripts are transiently induced in these cells by exposure to recombinant human TNF. This induction of TNF RNA is associated with production of TNF-like protein in cell lysates and culture supernatants. Stable resistance to TNF-induced cytotoxicity develops when ZR-75-1 cells are exposed to increased concentrations of TNF. The TNF-resistant cells, designated ZR-75-1R, continuously express TNF transcripts and a TNF-like protein. Furthermore, ZR-75-1R cell supernatants contain cytotoxic activity that is abrogated by polyclonal antibody against TNF. The ZR-75-1R cells also possess TNF receptors that are occupied or down-regulated by the TNF-like protein. These findings thus suggest that (i) TNF induces TNF transcripts and production of a TNF-like protein in ZR-75-1 cells and (ii) resistance to TNF-induced cytotoxicity is associated with stable TNF expression.

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