Insulin and estrogen binding have been determined in 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced mammary tumors of rats in various endocrine states. Hormonal therapy, such as diabetes and ovariectomy, resulted in differential effects on growth patterns and hormone binding of tumors coexisting in the same host or in different hosts. It was observed that tumors that continued to grow after the host was made diabetic (insulin independent) or started to regress after ovariectomy (ovarian dependent) demonstrated decreased insulin binding. Tumors that regressed in diabetic hosts (insulin dependent) or continued to grow in ovariectomized animals (ovarian independent) showed an increased insulin-binding capacity. No significant change in insulin binding was observed in tumors that remained static after ovariectomy or induction of diabetes.

Estrogen binding in tumor cells from diabetic rats paralleled the pattern of tumor growth response to diabetes; insulin-independent tumors demonstrated a significant increase in binding compared to tumors from intact hosts, and insulin-dependent tumors showed decreased estrogen receptor levels. From these results, we conclude that (a) insulin plays a positive role in regulating estrogenbinding capacity, (b) ovarian hormones may play a role in regulating insulin-binding capacity, and (c) a relationship between insulin and ovarian hormones and the growth of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced tumors is strongly suggested and may have therapeutic implications.


Supported by Grant CA 16660 from the USPHS, NIH.

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