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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1996;39(1):87-92.

The T61 human breast cancer xenograft: an experimental model of estrogen therapy of breast cancer.

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Finsen Laboratory, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Endocrine therapy is one of the principal treatment modalities of breast cancer, both in an adjuvant setting and in advanced disease. The T61 breast cancer xenograft described here provides an experimental model of the effects of estrogen treatment at a molecular level. T61 is an estrogen receptor positive tumor which was originally derived from a T1N0M0 invasive ductal cancer and has been carried as a serially transplanted xenograft in nude mice. T61 is a hormone sensitive tumor whose growth is suppressed by both estrogen and tamoxifen, in contrast to other estrogen receptor positive tumors such as MCF-7 which are stimulated by estrogen. Molecular studies have demonstrated that T61 expresses easily detectable levels of mRNA for a number of peptide growth factors, including transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) and insulin-like growth factors I and II (IGF-I and IGF-II), but not transforming growth factor beta-I (TGF-beta1). Of these, IGF-II is the only peptide whose expression is altered by endocrine therapy. Treatment of T61-bearing nude mice with physiologic doses of estrogen is accompanied by loss of IGF-II mRNA expression within 24 hours, and rapid regression of tumor. T61 tumor growth is also inhibited in animals treated with a monoclonal antibody which blocks binding of ligand to the IGF-I receptor, which mediates the mitogenic signal of bound IGF-II through autophosphorylation of its intracellular tyrosine kinase domain. These results demonstrate the utility of the T61 model in the study of the molecular mechanism of estrogen therapy in breast cancer, and suggest that in this system, modulation of a specific growth factor (IGF-II) by endocrine therapy can have profound effects on tumor growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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