Estrogen and anti-estrogen effects on the growth of human epithelial ovarian cancer in vitro

Obstet Gynecol. 1989 Jun;73(6):1009-16. doi: 10.1097/00006250-198906000-00021.


An epithelial ovarian cancer cell line, PE04, has been shown to contain high levels of cytosolic estrogen receptor-like binding. Analysis of PE04 cytosol on low-salt sucrose density gradients demonstrated 7-9S binding of [3H]17 beta-estradiol, with specificity consistent with that of an estrogen receptor. When compared with the proliferation of cells grown in monolayer without steroids, a 50% increase in growth rate of the cell line was observed by treatment with 17 beta-estradiol (E2). Growth stimulation was dose-dependent and maximal at 10(-10) M. The E2 effect on substrate-independent growth was more striking; 3 x 10(-9) M produced a 30-fold increase in cloning efficiency. Treatment with 4-hydroxytamoxifen resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition (maximal at 3 x 10(-9) M) of cell growth, which was reversible by E2. Although treatment with estrogen in systems containing functional estrogen receptor commonly results in progesterone receptor synthesis, E2 induction of progesterone receptor could not be demonstrated in this cell line. The endocrine characteristics of PE04 contrast with those of another ovarian cancer cell line, NIH:OVCAR-3, in which E2 induces progesterone receptor but does not stimulate cell proliferation. This is the first report of an ovarian cancer cell line in which the clinically important end-effect of estrogen, cell growth, has been observed. Furthermore, retention of a mitogenic response to estrogen in the apparent absence of progesterone receptor induction has not been described previously in model systems.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / pathology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Estrogen Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Promegestone / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects
  • Tamoxifen / analogs & derivatives
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects


  • Estrogen Antagonists
  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tamoxifen
  • afimoxifene
  • Estradiol
  • Promegestone