Insulin-like growth factor binding protein secretion by breast carcinoma cell lines: correlation with estrogen receptor status

Endocrinology. 1990 Dec;127(6):2679-86. doi: 10.1210/endo-127-6-2679.


Breast tumor cell lines have been shown to secrete several distinct polypeptide growth factors, although conflicting results exist for the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs). In contrast a limited number of breast tumor cell lines have definitely been shown to secrete the high affinity IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) that modify IGF actions. To characterize the types of IGFBPs that are secreted by breast tumor cell lines, conditioned medium was collected from seven separate tumor cell lines, three of which were estrogen receptor (ER) negative, and four of which were ER positive. All three of the ER negative cell lines, MDA-231, MDA-330, and HS578T, secreted binding proteins of 49,000 and 43,000 Mr (IGFBP-3) as well as 29,000 (IGFBP-1) and 24,000 Mr. In contrast, all four ER positive cell lines secreted 34,000 (IGFBP-2) or 24,000 Mr forms, and none secreted the 49,000 and 43,000 or 29,000 Mr forms. BT-20, a cell line that is positive for ER messenger RNA (mRNA) but negative for ER protein, secreted predominantly a 34,000 Mr protein. The amount of total IGFBP activity released in 24 h ranged between 0.4 and 5.6 nM equivalents of IGFBP-1, and there was no significant difference between the ER positive and negative cell lines. The MCF-7 cells that produced predominantly 34,000 and 24,000 Mr forms showed a 1.8-fold increase in IGFBP secretion after estrogen stimulation. Immunoblotting and a specific RIA for IGFBP-1 showed that only the ER negative lines MDA-330, MDA-231, and HS578T secreted this form. Northern blotting analysis for the mRNA encoding this protein showed that both MDA-330 and MDA-231 contained a single 1.6 kilobase mRNA species that hybridized with an IGFBP-1 complementary DNA (cDNA) probe. Immunoblotting analysis of the other cell lines showed that only the 34,000 Mr form secreted by the ER positive cell lines reacted with IGFBP-2 antisera. Exposure of the conditioned media from the three ER negative cell lines to N-glycanase revealed that the 49,000 and 43,000 Mr forms of IGFBP were glycosylated and therefore probably represent IGFBP-3. We conclude that ER negative cell lines secrete three forms of IGFBPs, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-3, and a 24,000 Mr form. In contrast, the ER positive cell lines secrete predominantly IGFBP-2 and the 24,000 Mr form but do not secrete IGFBP-3 or 1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Weight
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / isolation & purification
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / isolation & purification
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I