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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1998 Feb;64(3-4):137-45.

Estrogen regulation of transforming growth factor-alpha in ovarian cancer.

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ICRF Medical Oncology Unit, Western General Hospitals NHS Trust, Edinburgh, UK.


Transforming growth factor alpha (TGFalpha) may be induced by estrogen in estrogen responsive systems and can contribute to the growth-modulatory effects of this hormone. To test whether TGFalpha contributes to estrogen-regulated growth in ovarian cancers, we have compared the effects of 17beta-estradiol (E2) and TGFalpha in a range of ovarian carcinoma cell lines. Addition of E2 to the estrogen receptor (ER)-positive cell lines (PE01, PE04 and PE01CDDP) produced a 2-4 fold increase in TGFalpha protein concentrations in media conditioned by the cells. Both E2 and TGFalpha stimulated the growth of the PE01 and PE04 lines and inhibited the growth of the PE01CDDP line. Furthermore, the E2-mediated growth effects could be reversed by an epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor-targeted antibody. E2 also down-regulated EGF receptor expression in ER-positive cell lines. In a series of primary ovarian tumors, higher concentrations of ER were associated with an increased percentage of tumors expressing TGFalpha mRNA and a decreased percentage expressing EGF receptor protein. All these data are consistent with E2 increasing production of TGFalpha in ER-positive ovarian cancer and this in turn acting through the EGF receptor to modulate growth in an autocrine manner.

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