Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 69–79 | Cite as

Progestin regulation of insulin and insulin-like growth factor I receptors in cultured human breast cancer cells

  • Ira D. Goldfine
  • Vincenzo Papa
  • Riccardo Vigneri
  • Pentti Siiteri
  • Stephen Rosenthal


Recent studies indicate that the insulin receptor (IR) content is higher in breast cancer cells than in normal mammary epithelial cells. This observation has been made both in tissue specimens from patients with breast cancer, and in various human cultured breast cancer cell lines. Investigations have now been undertaken to understand the role of progestins in the regulation of the IR and the closely related insulin like growth factors-I receptor (IGF-I-R). Pretreatment of T-47D cultured human breast cancer cell lines with progestins induced a time and dose dependent increase in IR content. This increase was due primarily to an effect of progestins to increase IR mRNA levels. Other steroid hormones including glucocortocoids, estrogen, and testosterone were without effect. In contrast to their up-regulation of the IR, progestins down-regulated the IGF-I-R at the level of mRNA. An analysis of the processes involved revealed that progestins increased the biosynthesis of a ligand for IGF-I receptor, IGF-II. IGF-II in turn down-regulated the IGF-I-R. Thus these studies indicate that progestins have important effects on both the IR and the IGF-I-R. The effects of progestins on these and other growth factor receptors, therefore, may have an important role in the biology of breast cancers.

Key words

breast cancer cells IGF-I receptor IGF-II regulation insulin receptor progestins 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ira D. Goldfine
    • 1
  • Vincenzo Papa
    • 1
    • 4
  • Riccardo Vigneri
    • 4
  • Pentti Siiteri
    • 2
  • Stephen Rosenthal
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Medicine and PhysiologyUniversity of California at San FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive SciencesUniversity of California at San FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsUniversity of California at San FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.University of CataniaCataniaItaly

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