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Inducible overexpression of cyclin D1 in breast cancer cells reverses the growth-inhibitory effects of antiestrogens


The development of endocrine resistance in previously sensitive, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers is a major limitation in the treatment of breast cancer. Because antiestrogens have a cell cycle-specific action on breast cancer cells and influence the expression and activity of several cell cycle-regulatory molecules, the development of aberrant cell cycle control mechanisms is a potential mechanism by which cells might develop resistance to antiestrogens. We postulated that overexpression of cyclin D1, which is a common feature of breast cancer, may confer antiestrogen resistance. We addressed this question in vitro by testing the ability of ectopic cyclin D1 overexpression to overcome the growth-inhibitory effects of tamoxifen and the pure steroidal antiestrogens, ICI 164384 and ICI 182780, in T-47D and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. In cells stably transfected with a human cyclin D1 cDNA under the control of a metal-inducible metallothionein promoter, cyclin D1 expression was increased 2-4-fold following treatment with zinc. Despite the continued presence of antiestrogen, cyclin D1 induction resulted in the formation of active cyclin D1/Cdk4 complexes, concurrent hyperphosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein, and entry into S phase of cells previously arrested in G1. Elevated cyclin D1 protein levels were first detected 3 h after treatment with zinc, and the proportion of cells in S phase began to increase 6 h later. The S-phase fraction increased 2-3-fold from 13 to 17% in cells treated with antiestrogen alone, to a peak of 33-38% 15 h after zinc treatment. Both the cyclin D1 protein level and the proportion of cells in S phase increased with increasing concentrations of zinc. We conclude that the ectopic overexpression of cyclin D1 reverses the growth-inhibitory effect of antiestrogens in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells, providing a potential mechanism for clinical antiestrogen resistance.

Type Journal
ISBN 1078-0432 (Print)
Authors Wilcken, N. R.;Prall, O. W.;Musgrove, E. A.;Sutherland, R. L. :
Responsible Garvan Author (missing name)
Published Date 1997-01-01
Published Volume 3
Published Issue 6
Published Pages 849-54
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version