Clinical & Experimental Metastasis

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 15–26 | Cite as

The invasive and metastatic properties of hormone-independent but hormone-responsive variants of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells

  • Erik W. Thompson
  • Nits Brünner
  • Jeffrey Torri
  • Michael D. Johnson
  • Viviane Boulay
  • Ann Wright
  • Marc E. Lippman
  • Patricia S. Steeg
  • Robert Clarke


We have previously isolated a series of MCF-7 human breast cancer cell variants which no longer require estrogen-supplementation for tumor growth in nude mice (Clarkeet al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86: 3649–3653, 1989). We now report that these hormone-independent and hormone-responsive variants (MIII, MCF7/LCC1) can invade locally from solid mammary fat pad tumors, and produce primary extensions on the surface of intraperitoneal structures including liver, pancreas, and diaphragm. Both lymphatic and hematogenous dissemination are observed, resulting in the establishing of pulmonary, bone, and renal metastases. The pattern of metastasis by MIII and MCF7/LCC1 cells closely resembles that frequently observed in breast cancer patients, and provides the first evidence of metastasis from MCF-7 cells growingin vivo without supplementary estrogen. The interexperimental incidence of metastases, and the time from cell inoculation to the appearance of metastatic disease are variable. The increased metastatic potential is not associated with an increase in either the level of laminin attachment, laminin receptor mRNA expression, or secreted type IV collagenolytic activity. We also did not detect a significant decrease in the steady-state mRNA levels of the metastasis inhibitor nm23 gene. However, when growing without estrogenin vitro, MCF7/LCC1 cells produce elevated levels of the estrogen-inducible cathepsin D enzyme.


breast cancer estrogen-independent invasion metastasis progression 


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Copyright information

© Rapid Communications of Oxford Ltd 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik W. Thompson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nits Brünner
    • 1
  • Jeffrey Torri
    • 1
  • Michael D. Johnson
    • 1
  • Viviane Boulay
    • 1
  • Ann Wright
    • 1
  • Marc E. Lippman
    • 1
  • Patricia S. Steeg
    • 3
  • Robert Clarke
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research CenterGeorgetown University Medical SchoolWashington
  2. 2.Department of Physiology & BiophysicsGeorgetown University Medical SchoolWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyGeorgetown University Medical SchoolWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Finsen LaboratoryCopenhagenDenmark

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