Biological effects of adrenal androgens on MCF-7 and BT-20 human breast cancer cells

Oncology. 1990;47(3):269-74. doi: 10.1159/000226830.


The MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line responds to 5-androstene-3 beta,17 beta-diol, to dehydroepiandrosterone and to its 3 beta-sulfate stimulation in vitro by increased proliferation. 5-Androstene-3 beta,17 beta-diol has the strongest mitogenic effect. Dehydroepiandrosterone has a more potent action on cell proliferation than its 3 beta-sulfate. These adrenal androgens do not stimulate proliferation of the estrogen receptors negative for the BT-20 cell line. In our conditions, we have failed to demonstrate MCF-7 estradiol formation when incubations were carried out in the presence of labeled adrenal androgens. These results suggest that adrenal androgens stimulate proliferation of MCF-7 cells directly by acting on estrogen receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androstenediol / pharmacology*
  • Androstenediols / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / pharmacology*
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects


  • Androstenediols
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • Androstenediol