Genes involved in tumor invasion and metastasis are differentially modulated by estradiol and progestin in human breast-cancer cells

F. A. Van Den Brule, J. Engel, W. G. Stetler-Stevenson, Fu-Tong Liu, M. E. Sobel, V. Castronovo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations


Invasion of basement membranes by cancer cells is a critical step in metastasis, which requires the coordinated expression of specific genes such as laminin receptors and metalloproteinases. Estradiol and progesterone modulate the clinical progression of steroid-sensitive breast cancers; however, little is known about the molecular regulation of the invasive phenotype by these hormones. We therefore examined the effects of 10 nM estradiol and/or 10 nM progestin R5020 on the expression of 2 non-integrin laminin binding proteins, the 67-kDa laminin receptor (67LR) and HLBP31 as well as the 72-kDa type-IV collagenase (MMP-2) and its inhibitor, TIMP-2, in steroid-receptor-positive (T47D and MCF-7) and -negative (MDA-MB 231) human breast-cancer cells. The relative steady-state level of 67LR mRNA was increased 2- to 3-fold by estradiol in both MCF-7 (p < 0.001) and T47D (p < 0.001) cells, also by R5020, alone or in combination with estradiol, in T47D cells (p < 0.001) and to a much less extent in MCF-7 cells. HLBP31 mRNA and protein levels were increased 2- to 3-fold (p < 0.001) by R5020 alone or in combination with estradiol, but not by estradiol alone. None of the steroid treatments affected the expression or activity of MMP-2. Interestingly, however, TIMP-2 mRNA levels and protein expression in MCF-7 and T47D cells were 50% down-regulated (p < 0.001) by treatment with R5020 or R5020 plus estradiol, but not by treatment with estradiol alone. None of these genes were modulated in steroid-independent MDA-MB231 cells. The data suggest that estradiol and progesterone might act as coordinators regulating specific genes in the steroid-sensitive breast-cancer cell, leading to the acquisition of the metastatic phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-657
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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