Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 169–179 | Cite as

Similarity between natural and recombinant human alpha-fetoprotein as inhibitors of estrogen-dependent breast cancer growth

  • James A. Bennett
  • Daniel J. Semeniuk
  • Herbert I. Jacobson
  • Robert A. Murgita


Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) isolated from rodent amniotic fluid orhuman cord sera, upon incubation with a molarexcess of estradiol, is converted to a formwhich inhibits estrogen-stimulated tissue growth. The purpose ofthis study was to determine whether recombinant humanAFP produced in an E. coli expression systemretained this function. The recombinant protein was similarto the natural protein isolated from pooled humancord sera in all functional aspects evaluated. Itwas detected by monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies tothe natural protein. Following exposure to estradiol, itwas converted to an inhibitor of estrogen-stimulated growthof immature mouse uterus yielding a dose/response curvesimilar to that of the natural protein. Itinhibited the growth of estrogen-dependent (MCF-7) but notestrogen-independent (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer xenografts with the sameschedule dependency and resultant histological changes as thenatural protein. Availability of large quantities of homogeneous,biologically active recombinant human AFP will facilitate furtherstudies of structure/function, mechanism, and therapeutic potential ofthis agent as a regulator of breast cancergrowth.

alpha-fetoprotein breast cancer 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Bennett
    • 1
  • Daniel J. Semeniuk
    • 2
  • Herbert I. Jacobson
    • 1
  • Robert A. Murgita
    • 2
  1. 1.Albany Medical CollegeAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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