MCF-7 breast cancer cells selected for tamoxifen resistance acquire new phenotypes differing in DNA content, phospho-HER2 and PAX2 expression, and rapamycin sensitivity

Euphemia Leung, Nagarajan Kannan, Geoffrey W. Krissansen, Michael P. Findlay, Bruce C. Baguley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients with estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers are often treated with aromatase inhibitors or by antiestrogens such as tamoxifen to prevent disease recurrence. Resistant tumors nevertheless develop and it is commonly assumed that they arise by the induction of mutations. However, it is also possible that resistant tumors grow from preexisting variant populations within the original tumor. We have investigated this possibility in the case of the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. The line was cultured for a prolonged period either in the presence of tamoxifen to block the action of oestrogen or in the absence of estrogen to mimic the action of oophorectomy or treatment with aromatase inhibitors. Both treatments led to growth inhibition followed by eventual outgrowth of sub-lines. Five of these sub-lines were developed and characterized for sensitivity to tamoxifen and to the antibiotic rapamycin, expression of HER2 and PAX2, and phosphorylation of Akt, p70s6K, 4E-BP1, rps6, EGFR1, Erk and HER2. all six lines were ER+ and could be divided into four phenotypes distinguished by cell volume, DNA content (ploidy) and cell cycle time. In two cases, selection with tamoxifen and selection in the absence of estrogen produced similar phenotypes. Rapamycin resistance was a feature of the sub-lines developed under estrogen deprivation and was associated with loss of active phospho-HER2 and acquisition of PAX2 expression. The results support the conclusion that the MCF-7 cell line is heterogeneous and that the selection conditions allow the growth of pre-existing phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-724
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Clonal selection
  • HER2
  • PAX2
  • Rapamycin
  • Tamoxifen
  • mTOR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'MCF-7 breast cancer cells selected for tamoxifen resistance acquire new phenotypes differing in DNA content, phospho-HER2 and PAX2 expression, and rapamycin sensitivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this