BG-1 ovarian cell line: an alternative model for examining estrogen-dependent growth in vitro

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 1998 Sep;34(8):649-54. doi: 10.1007/s11626-996-0015-9.


Examination of estrogen-responsive processes in cell culture is used to investigate hormonal influence on cancer cell growth and gene expression. Most experimental studies have used breast cancer cell lines, in particular MCF7 cells, to investigate estrogen responsiveness. In this study we examined an ovarian cancer cell line, BG-1, which is highly estrogen-responsive in vitro. This observation, plus the fact that the cells are of ovarian rather than mammary gland origin, makes it an attractive alternative model. 17Beta-estradiol, epidermal growth factor, and insulin-like growth factorinduced proliferation of BG-1 and MCF7 cells. Viability was dependent on these growth factors in BG-1 cells, but not in MCF7 cells. Therefore, we examined the differences between these two cell lines with respect to estrogen and growth factor receptors. BG-1 cells have twice as many estrogen receptors as MCF7 cells, and BG-1 cells have higher insulin-like growth factor-1 and epidermal growth factor receptor levels than MCF7 cells. This may also explain why BG-1 cells proliferate 56% more robustly in serum and show more serum dependence in culture. In both BG-1 and MCF7 cells, epidermal growth factor receptor number is low (<20000/cell), while insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor level was highest in estrogen receptor positive cell lines. For example, insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor was higher in BG-1 and MCF7 cells than in estrogen receptor negative cells (HeLa > MDA-MB-435 > HBL100). In conclusion, BG-1 cells are an excellent model for understanding hormone responsiveness in ovarian tissue and an alternative for examining estrogen receptor-mediated and insulin-like growth factor-1/epidermal growth factor/estrogen cross-talk processes because of their sensitivity to these factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Estradiol / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured*


  • Estradiol
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1