Oestrogen receptor expression and the effects of oestrogen and tamoxifen on the growth of human ovarian carcinoma cell lines

Br J Cancer. 1990 Aug;62(2):213-6. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1990.263.


To assess the role of oestrogen regulation in the growth of ovarian cancer, we examined the effects of an oestrogen, 17 beta-oestradiol, and an anti-oestrogen, tamoxifen, on oestrogen receptor (ER) -positive and -negative human ovarian carcinoma cell lines. As measured by a dextran-coated charcoal adsorption assay, cell lines PEO1, PEO4 and PEO6 possessed moderate concentrations of ER (96-132 fmol mg-1 protein), PEA1 and PEA2 had low values (12-23 fmol mg-1 protein) and PEO14, TO14, PEO23 and PEO16 were ER-negative. Addition of 17 beta-oestradiol (10 nM or 0.1 nM) to the ER +ve cell line, PEO4, increased the growth rate. This oestrogen stimulation could be blocked by 1 microM tamoxifen. In contrast, the growth rate of the ER -ve cell line PEO14 was unaffected by the addition of 17 beta-oestradiol or tamoxifen. Concentrations of tamoxifen in excess of 8 microM were required to produce complete cytostasis in all lines. This concentration of tamoxifen over 72 hours also inhibited 50% colony formation when cells were plated on plastic. These data indicate that some ovarian carcinoma cell lines contain ER and their growth can be sensitive to oestrogen and anti-oestrogen modulation.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / ultrastructure*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / physiology*
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tamoxifen
  • Estradiol