Establishment and characterization of a steroidogenic human granulosa-like tumor cell line, KGN, that expresses functional follicle-stimulating hormone receptor

Endocrinology. 2001 Jan;142(1):437-45. doi: 10.1210/endo.142.1.7862.


We established a steroidogenic human ovarian granulosa-like tumor cell line, designated KGN, from a patient with invasive ovarian granulosa cell carcinoma. KGN had a relatively long population doubling time of about 46.4 h and had an abnormal karyotype of 45,XX, 7q-, -22. A steroid analysis of the cultured medium by RIA performed 5 yr after the initiation of culture showed that KGN was able to secrete pregnenolone and progesterone, and both dramatically increased after stimulation with (Bu)(2)cAMP. However, little or no secretion of 17alpha-hydroxylated steroids, dehydroepiandrosterone, androstenedione, or estradiol was observed. The aromatase activity of KGN was relatively high and was further stimulated by (Bu)(2)cAMP or FSH. These findings showed a pattern similar to that of steroidogenesis in human granulosa cells, thus allowing analysis of naturally occurring steroidogenesis in human granulosa cells. Fas-mediated apoptosis of KGN was also observed, which mimicked the physiological regulation of apoptosis in normal human granulosa cells. Based on these findings, this cell line is considered to be a very useful model for understanding the regulation of steroidogenesis, cell growth, and apoptosis in human granulosa cells.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Aromatase / metabolism
  • Bucladesine / pharmacology
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Division
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor / genetics
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor / pathology*
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Karyotyping
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Pregnenolone / metabolism
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Receptors, FSH / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Receptors, FSH
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Progesterone
  • Bucladesine
  • Pregnenolone
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Aromatase
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate