Tumor Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 203–214 | Cite as

Part I. Molecular and cellular characterization of high nitric oxide-adapted human breast adenocarcinoma cell lines

  • B. J. Vesper
  • A. Onul
  • G. K. HainesIII
  • G. Tarjan
  • J. Xue
  • K. M. Elseth
  • B. Aydogan
  • M. B. Altman
  • J. C. Roeske
  • W. A. Paradise
  • H. De Vitto
  • J. A. Radosevich
Research Article


There is a lack of understanding of the casual mechanisms behind the observation that some breast adenocarcinomas have identical morphology and comparatively different cellular growth behavior. This is exemplified by a differential response to radiation, chemotherapy, and other biological intervention therapies. Elevated concentrations of the free radical nitric oxide (NO), coupled with the up-regulated enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) which produces NO, are activities which impact tumor growth. Previously, we adapted four human breast cancer cell lines: BT-20, Hs578T, T-47D, and MCF-7 to elevated concentrations of nitric oxide (or high NO [HNO]). This was accomplished by exposing the cell lines to increasing levels of an NO donor over time. Significantly, the HNO cell lines grew faster than did each respective (“PARENT”) cell line even in the absence of NO donor-supplemented media. This was evident despite each “parent” being morphologically equivalent to the HNO adapted cell line. Herein, we characterize the HNO cells and their biological attributes against those of the parent cells. Pairs of HNO/parent cell lines were then analyzed using a number of key cellular activity criteria including: cell cycle distribution, DNA ploidy, response to DNA damage, UV radiation response, X-ray radiation response, and the expression of significant cellular enzymes. Other key enzyme activities studied were NOS, p53, and glutathione S-transferase-pi (GST-pi) expression. HNO cells were typified by a far more aggressive pattern of growth and resistance to various treatments than the corresponding parent cells. This was evidenced by a higher S-phase percentage, variable radioresistance, and up-regulated GST-pi and p53. Taken collectively, this data provides evidence that cancer cells subjected to HNO concentrations become resistant to free radicals such as NO via up-regulated cellular defense mechanisms, including p53 and GST-pi. The adaptation to NO may explain how tumor cells acquire a more aggressive tumor phenotype.


Adenocarcinoma Nitric oxide (NO) Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) Breast cancer Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) 



The authors wish to thank the UIC Flow Cytometry facility (Drs. Karen Hagen and Jewel Graves) for their assistance with the FACS study, and the UIC Core Genomics Facility (Dr. Zarema Arbieva and Mr. Oleksiy Karpenko for their assistance with the gene chip study. This work was supported by a Veterans Affairs merit review grant (J.A.R.).

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. J. Vesper
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Onul
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. K. HainesIII
    • 3
  • G. Tarjan
    • 4
  • J. Xue
    • 1
    • 2
  • K. M. Elseth
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Aydogan
    • 5
    • 6
  • M. B. Altman
    • 5
    • 6
  • J. C. Roeske
    • 7
  • W. A. Paradise
    • 1
    • 2
  • H. De Vitto
    • 1
    • 2
    • 8
  • J. A. Radosevich
    • 1
    • 2
    • 9
  1. 1.Center for Molecular Biology of Oral DiseasesUniversity of Illinois at Chicago, College of DentistryChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic SciencesUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PathologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Department of PathologyJohn H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook CountyChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Radiation and Cellular OncologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  7. 7.Department of Radiation OncologyLoyola University Medical CenterMaywoodUSA
  8. 8.Universidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroIBqMBrazil
  9. 9.Jesse Brown VAMCChicagoUSA

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