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Br J Cancer. 1995 Dec;72(6):1441-6.

Relationship between tamoxifen-induced transforming growth factor beta 1 expression, cytostasis and apoptosis in human breast cancer cells.

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Division of Surgical Oncology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk 23507, USA.


Previously we have shown that tamoxifen (TAM) induces morphological and biochemical changes typical of apoptosis in oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive MCF-7 or ER-negative MDA-231 human breast cancer cells. In this study the effects of TAM on expression of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) were correlated with the effects on cell cycle kinetics and apoptosis. TAM had similar biphasic effects on both cell lines. Short-term (< 6 h) TAM incubation resulted in a slight decrease in TGF-beta 1 protein despite an increase in TGF-beta 1 mRNA and was associated with an increase in cells in S-phase. No apoptotic effects were noted. Longer (> or = 12 h) TAM incubation induced TGF-beta 1 protein (about 3-fold) and mRNA expression (about 2-fold) in both cell lines, and was associated with G1/G0 blockade and induction of apoptosis. The accumulation of TAM-induced TGF-beta 1 mRNA was increased by cycloheximide, but was not affected by 17 beta-oestradiol. Long-term incubation with TAM had no significant effect on TGF-beta 1 gene copy number. TAM-induced internucleosomal DNA cleavage was inhibited in both cell lines by the addition of an anti-TGF-beta 1 antibody. TAM has dose- and time-dependent effects on TGF-beta 1 expression associated with changes in cell cycle kinetics. These effects are independent of ER status and may be the result of a direct regulatory effect of TAM on TGF-beta 1 transcription. It also appears that induction of TGF-beta 1 plays an important role in TAM-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells.

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