, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 282-288

Growth requirements and neoplastic transformation of two types of normal human breast epithelial cells derived from reduction mammoplasty

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A chemically defined culture medium was developed to support the growth of two distinctly different types of normal human breast epithelial cells (HBEC) derived from reduction mammoplasty. Type I cells expressed luminal epithelial cell markers and were deficient in gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC), whereas Type II cells expressed basal epithelial cell markers and were efficient in GJIC. In this study, we examined and compared the growth factor and hormone requirements of these two types of cells and a series of cell lines that were obtained by sequential transfection with SV40 DNA (extended lifespan, nontumorigenic), treatment with 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)/black light (immortal and weakly tumorigenic), and infection of a virus carrying the neu oncogene (highly tumorigenic). Growth of Type I cells was inhibited by withdrawing epidermal growth factor (EGF), hydrocortisone (HC), or insulin (INS) from the culture media, but was enhanced by fetal bovine serum (FBS) supplementation. Growth of Type II cells was inhibited by withdrawal of EGF, HC, or INS from the media, and was inhibited by FBS supplementation. Withdrawal of human transferrin (HT) or 17β-estradiol (E2) from the media did not alter the growth of Type I or Type II cells. SV40 transfected Type I cell lines still required EGF, HC, or INS for optimal growth. However, the highly tumorigenic cell line did not show a growth dependence on EGF, HC, or INS but did appear to require HT and 3,3′,5-triiodo-D.L. thyronine (T3) for optimal growth. In addition, FBS stimulated the growth of these cell lines. Thus, this study shows that Type I HBEC are distinctly different from Type II HBEC in growth response to FBS and that neoplastically transformed Type I cells could become growth factor and hormone independent.