Background: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) analogs have been used in the therapy of the endocrine-dependent cancers. The authors attempted to determine the frequency with which Gn-RH receptor (Gn-RHR) is present in gynecological cancers.
Methods: Experiments were performed on gynecologic tumors that had been surgically removed and their cloned cell lines. Gn-RHR was characterized by [3H]Gn-RH binding to plasma membrane preparations. Gn-RHR messenger ribonucleic acid was determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction using oligonucleotide primers synthesized according to the published human Gn-RHR sequence.
Results: High affinity binding sites with nanomolar range of Kd and Gn-RHR mRNA were detected in a high proportion (over 90%) of the specimens from endometrium (6 of 6) and endometrial carcinomas (16 of 17), myometrium (6 of 6) and myomas (4 of 5), epithelial carcinoma (21 of 23), and stromal tumors (3 of 3) of the ovary. There was no substantial Gn-RHR in cervical carcinomas or germ cell-derived tumors of the ovary. Cloned cell lines gave identical results to those obtained in their respective mother tumors.
Conclusions: We detected Gn-RHR in a wide range of the carcinomas and tissues originating from the endometrium and ovary, but not in the uterine cervix or germ cell-derived tumors. The expression of Gn-RH receptor raises the possibility that Gn-RH may play a direct regulatory role in the growth of these carcinomas, and provides a possible point of attack for therapeutic approaches using Gn-RH analogs in these malignancies.