Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist triptorelin and antagonist cetrorelix inhibit EGF-induced c-fos expression in human gynecological cancers

Gynecol Oncol. 2000 Aug;78(2):194-202. doi: 10.1006/gyno.2000.5863.


Objectives: Spontaneous and epidermal growth-factor-induced proliferation of human gynecological cancer cell lines is dose- and time-dependently reduced by treatment with the luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist triptorelin and antagonist Cetrorelix. This antiproliferative activity is probably directly mediated through the LHRH receptors expressed by the tumor cells interacting with growth-factor-dependent mitogenic signal transduction. We have examined whether epidermal growth-factor (EGF)-induced expression of the early response gene c-fos is reduced by LHRH analogs.

Methods: Human endometrial (Ishikawa, Hec-1A), ovarian (EFO-21, EFO-27, SK-OV-3), and breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7) were rendered quiescent by incubation (72 h) in the absence of fetal calf serum and phenol red. This was followed by a 15-min incubation in the absence or presence of the LHRH agonist triptorelin (100 nM) or the antagonist Cetrorelix (100 nM) before the cells were stimulated for 10 min with EGF (100 nM). C-fos mRNA expression was determined by semi-quantitative RT-PCR using a synthetic DNA fragment as internal standard. C-Fos protein synthesis was determined by SDS-PAGE and semi-quantitative Western blotting.

Results: In cells derived from endometrial and ovarian cancer, maximal c-fos mRNA expression (seven- to ninefold over basal level) was obtained 30 min after EGF stimulation. In the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 this effect was obtained 60 min after EGF treatment. In all of the lines expressing LHRH receptor, EGF-induced c-fos mRNA expression as well as c-Fos protein synthesis was dose-dependently reduced by treatment with LHRH agonists and antagonists. At 100 nM concentrations of the LHRH analogs, c-fos expression was reduced to baseline levels. No effect of LHRH analogs on EGF-induced c-fos expression was observed in the ovarian cancer cell line SK-OV-3, which does not express the LHRH receptor.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the binding of LHRH agonists and antagonists to their receptors inhibits the mitogenic signal transduction pathway of the EGF receptor in endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancer cell lines. The coupling of both signal transduction systems mediates the antiproliferative effect of LHRH analogs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / pharmacology
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Genes, fos / drug effects*
  • Genes, fos / genetics
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / genetics
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / metabolism*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / agonists*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Hormone Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Luteolytic Agents / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, LHRH / physiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Triptorelin Pamoate / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Hormone Antagonists
  • Luteolytic Agents
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, LHRH
  • Triptorelin Pamoate
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • cetrorelix