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Endocrinology. 1995 Apr;136(4):1707-17.

Modulation of normal mammary epithelial cell proliferation, morphogenesis, and functional differentiation by retinoids: a comparison of the retinobenzoic acid derivative RE80 with retinoic acid.

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Grace Cancer Drug Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263.


The ability of retinoids to modulate the proliferation as well as the morphological and functional differentiation of normal mammary epithelial cells isolated from pubescent female virgin rats was evaluated in serum-free primary culture. The retinobenzoic acid derivative RE80, present continuously or for only a limited time in culture, inhibited proliferation with an IC50 of less than 10(-10) M. In contrast, all-trans-retinoic acid (RA) inhibited proliferation with an IC50 of approximately 10(-8) M. In addition to effects on proliferation, RE80 and RA stimulated end bud colonies to differentiate to lobular alveolar colonies, inhibited alveolar budding, and suppressed the outgrowth of squamous colonies. Both retinoids also markedly stimulated functional differentiation, as assessed by accumulation of the major milk protein casein, and stimulated the synthesis of a approximately 73- to 74-kilodalton protein identified as a member of the transferrin family. Moreover, both retinoids stimulated cell death in the differentiated cell population. RE80 was approximately 100-fold more potent than RA for all of these effects. These data suggest that several mechanisms may contribute to the chemopreventive and/or therapeutic efficacy of retinoids in breast cancer, including inhibition of proliferation, stimulation of cell death, and/or induction of differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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