Mediation of estrogen mitogenic effect in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells by PC-cell-derived growth factor (PCDGF/granulin precursor)

Runqing Lu, Ginette Serrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


PC-cell-derived growth factor (PCDGF) is an 88-kDa glycoprotein corresponding to the granulin precursor. We have reported that PCDGF was expressed in human breast cancer cells. In estrogen-receptor positive cells, 17-β-estradiol (E2) transcriptionally stimulated PCDGF expression in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. We demonstrate here that PCDGF mediates the mitogenic effect of E2 in MCF-7 cells. PCDGF substituted for E2 to stimulate DNA synthesis. The E2 mitogenic effect was inhibited in a dose-dependent fashion by anti-PCDGF neutralizing antibody. Inhibition of PCDGF expression by antisense transfection also inhibited the E2 mitogenic effect. In contrast, overexpression of PCDGF in MCF-7 cells resulted in cells that were able to proliferate in the absence of estrogen and were tamoxifen resistant. The PCDGF signaling pathway was examined. Like E2, PCDGF stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinase activity. PCDGF could substitute for E2 in stimulating cyclin D1 expression. The cyclin D1 stimulation by E2 was 50% inhibited by anti-PCDGF antibody. In contrast, PCDGF did not stimulate c-myc expression, another molecular target of E2. We conclude that autocrine PCDGF mediates the E2 mitogenic effect via stimulation of cyclin D1. These studies provide information on estrogen action and identify an autocrine molecular target in human breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2001
Externally publishedYes

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