Journal Article

p21, p27 and p53 in estrogen and antiprogestin-induced tumor regression of experimental mouse mammary ductal carcinomas

Silvia Vanzulli, Alejo Efeyan, Fernando Benavides, Luisa A. Helguero, Giselle Peters, Jianjun Shen, Claudio J. Conti, Claudia Lanari and Alfredo Molinolo

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 23, issue 5, pages 749-758
Published in print May 2002 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online May 2002 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
p21, p27 and p53 in estrogen and antiprogestin-induced tumor regression of experimental mouse mammary ductal carcinomas

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Metastatic mammary carcinoma tumor lines 59-2-HI and C7-2-HI originated in female BALB/c mice treated with medroxyprogesterone acetate and are maintained by syngeneic transplantation. Both lines express estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR) and regress completely after estradiol (E2) or antiprogestin treatment. The BET tumor line, of similar origin and biological features, regresses only after E2 treatment. To investigate possible differences between E2- and antiprogestin-mediated effects we evaluated the morphological features, mitosis and apoptosis, and the differential expression of cell-cycle inhibitors associated with tumor regression. Treatments started when tumors reached 50–100 mm2. After 24–96 h, tumors were excised and processed for morphological and immunohistochemical studies. Regression was associated with a significant and early decrease in the number of mitosis and with higher percentages of apoptotic cells. These phenomena were accompanied by an increase in p21 and p27 expression in the E2 and antiprogestin-responsive lines treated with E2, RU 38.486 or ZK 98.299 (P < 0.05). In BET tumors treated with E2, p21 expression remained within basal levels and only p27 increased (P < 0.05). p53 was low in control 59-2-HI and C7-2-HI tumors and increased after treatment (P < 0.05) whereas BET untreated tumors already expressed high levels of p53 and MDM2. Although the immunohistochemical findings were compatible with alterations of p53, SSCP evaluation failed to disclose the presence of mutations, suggesting that the defective expression of p21 is related to an impaired p53 pathway. UV irradiation failed to increase p21 expression in BET, but was able to induce p53 and p21 in 59-2-HI and C7-2-HI tumors. The absence of an increased expression of p21 in E2-regressing BET lesions suggests that this protein is not necessary for estrogen-induced regression, but may be essential for antiprogestin action. Our results also suggest that p53/MDM2 alterations may be one of the mechanisms responsible for selected hormone resistance in breast carcinomas.

Keywords: CDK, cyclin-dependent kinase; ER, estrogen receptors; E2, 17-β-estradiol; H&E, hematoxylin–eosin; HPF, high power fields; MPA, medroxyprogesterone acetate; PR, progesterone receptors; RU, RU 38486 or mifepristone; SSCP, single-strand conformation polymorphism; TUNEL, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP biotin nick end labeling-technique; ZK, ZK 98299 or onapristone

Journal Article.  7100 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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