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Br J Cancer. 1998 Jul;78(1):88-95.

Oestradiol regulation of the components of the plasminogen-plasmin system in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells stably expressing the oestrogen receptor.

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Robert H Lurie Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


To understand the hormonal regulation of the components of the plasminogen-plasmin system in human breast cancer, we examined the oestradiol (E2) regulation of plasminogen activators (PAs), namely urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) and uPA receptor (uPAR), in our model system. We used stable transfectants of the MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells that express either the wild-type (S30 cells) or the mutant 351asp-->tyr oestrogen receptor (ER) (BC-2 cells). Northern blot analysis showed that there was a concentration-dependent down-regulation of uPA, tPA and PAI-1 mRNAs by E2. In contrast, uPAR mRNA was not modulated by E2. The pure anti-oestrogen ICI 182,780 was able to block E2 action, indicating that the regulation of these genes is ER mediated. The E2 also inhibited the expression and secretion of uPA, tPA and PAI-1 proteins as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in cell extracts (CEs) and conditioned media (CM). Zymography of the CM confirmed the inhibitory effect of E2 on uPA activity. Thus, we now report the regulation of uPA, PAI-1 and tPA by E2 in both mRNA and protein levels in ER transfectants. The association between down-regulation of the uPA by E2 and known E2-mediated growth inhibition of these cells was also explored. Our findings indicate that down-regulation of uPA by E2 is an upstream event of inhibitory effects of E2 on growth of these cells as the addition of exogenous uPA did not block the growth inhibition by E2.

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