Molecular and cellular endocrinology

Autocrine human growth hormone increases sensitivity of mammary carcinoma cell to arsenic trioxide-induced apoptosis.

PMID 23851143


Human growth hormone (hGH) has been increasingly implicated in a variety of cancers; its up-regulation is observed in breast cancer and correlates with a poor outcome. Autocrine hGH promotes mammary carcinoma cell survival, proliferation, immortalization; it confers an invasive phenotype as a result of an epithelial-mesenchymal transition and contributes to chemoresistance and radioresistance. Arsenic trioxide (ATO) is being successfully used as a first and second line therapy for the treatment of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia. It also inhibits tumor cell growth and induces apoptosis in a broad range of solid tumors. In the present study, we investigated the effect of hGH on sensitivity of a mammary adenocarcinoma cell to ATO, using a stable hGH-transfectant MCF-7 cell line, MCF7-hGH. Our results demonstrated for the first time that the overexpression of hGH increased sensitivity of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 to ATO through apoptotic and anti-proliferative mechanisms. The effect of ATO on the transcriptional level of genes involved in survival (Bcl-2, Bax and Survivin), self-sufficiency in growth signals (c-Myc, ARF, Cdc25A, p53 and Bax), immortalization (hTERT) and invasion and metastasis (MMP-2 and MMP-9, uPA and uPAR and E-cadherin) was more pronounced in MCF7-hGH compared with its parental MCF-7 line. Our study may highlight the potential application of ATO for the treatment of patients with breast cancer, especially in those who have metastatic and chemoresistant tumor phenotype possibly due to the over expression of hGH.