Abstract Title:

Effect of progesterone on the invasive properties and tumor growth of progesterone receptor-transfected breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231.

Abstract Source:

J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Mar;47(3):840-4. PMID: 11555606

Abstract Author(s):

V C Lin, A S Eng, N E Hen, E H Ng, S H Chowdhury


One of the potential therapeutic interventions to hormone-independent breast cancer would be to reactivate the expression of estrogen receptor or progesterone receptor (PR) in the tumor cells so as to render the tumor responsive to the hormones. We have reported previously that progesterone markedly inhibited cell growth and induced remarkable focal adhesions in PR-transfected MDA-MB-231 cells. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of progesterone on the invasive properties and in vivo tumor growth of PR-transfected MDA-MB-231 cells. It was found that progesterone has increased cell resistance to trypsin digestion and increased cell attachment to extracellular matrix proteins, especially laminin and fibronectin. In vitro invasion assays using modified Boyden chambers showed that progesterone increased cell migration through matrix protein-coated membranes. However, Northern blotting analysis demonstrated that progesterone strongly down-regulated (up to 60-fold) the gene expression of urokinase plasminogen activator and increased (up to 5-fold) the expression of tissue-type plasminogen activator in these cells. This pattern of gene regulation suggested an inhibition of cell invasiveness because numerous clinical studies have indicated that low levels of urokinase plasminogen activator and high levels of tissue-type plasminogen activator in breast cancer are associated with favorable prognosis. Furthermore, animal studies showed that progesterone strongly inhibited the tumor formation and growth in Scid mice. After 12 weeks of inoculation, the median weight of tumors in the progesterone-treated group was 25 mg compared with 203 mg in the placebo group (P < 0.001). These results suggest that progesterone may provide effective treatment for estrogen receptor- and PR-negative breast cancer if the PR expression were reactivated. Alternatively, activation of progesterone-mediated molecular pathways in hormone-independent breast cancer may achieve similar therapeutic effects.

Study Type : Animal Study

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