Cultured endometrial cancer cells exhibit autocrine growth factor stimulation that is not observed in cultured normal endometrial cells

Gynecol Oncol. 1996 Mar;60(3):380-6. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1996.0058.


Objective: To evaluate the autocrine stimulation hypothesis, primary cultures of malignant and normal endometrium were assayed for differences in response to growth factors (GF) GF and receptor blocking antibodies.

Methods: Thirteen normal and 10 malignant endometrial samples were collected. Cells were enzymatically dispersed and maintained in serum-free medium. They were incubated with epidermal GF (EGF), transforming GF-alpha (TGF-alpha), insulin-like GF-I (IGF-1), anti-EGF receptor antibody (Ab528), and anti-IGF-1 receptor antibody (alpha IR3) at physiologic concentrations. Tritiated thymidine incorporation was measured.

Results: Malignant endometrial cells increased thymidine incorporation when incubated with EGF (20.75%), TGF-alpha (19.8%), or IGF-1 (32.8%) compared to untreated control cells. When incubated with Ab528 or alpha IR3 antibodies alone, proliferation of malignant cells was inhibited (-12.4 and -23%, respectively, P < 0.003). Normal endometrial cells were inhibited by EGF (-24.9%), TGF-alpha (-25.6%), and IGF-1 (31.9%). Incubation of normal cells with Ab528 and alpha IR3 antibodies stimulated growth (125 and 115%, respectively, P < 0.02).

Conclusions: These data are consistent with the autocrine stimulation hypothesis for neoplastic endometrium and illustrate differences compared to nonneoplastic endometrial growth factor-mediated proliferation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Endometrium / cytology*
  • Endometrium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / immunology
  • Reference Values
  • Thymidine / metabolism


  • Antibodies
  • Growth Substances
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Thymidine