A nude mouse model for the growth of human endometrial carcinoma and hormonal modulation of the progesterone receptor (PR) was established previously. This study describes the effect of 17β-estradiol and tamoxifen (TAM) on growth rate and PR concentration in a hormonally responsive human endometrial tumor (EnCa 101) grown in this experimental system and presents the first characterization of human endometrial carcinoma PR. EnCa 101 was transplanted subcutaneously into ovariectomized, BALB/c, nu/nu athymic mice and grown under 17β-estradiol-stimulated, TAM-stimulated, and control conditions. Both 17β-estradiol and TAM increased the growth rate of EnCa 101 in nude mice, and a parallel increase in the cytosol PR concentration was observed, from 130 ± 55 (SD) fmol/mg protein to 1,311 ± 598 fmol/mg protein and 710 ± 310 fmol/mg protein, respectively. PR was partially purified by phosphocellulose and DEAE cellulose chromatography, and the DEAE eluate was analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and photoaffinity labeling with [17α-methyl-3H]promegestone ([3H]R5020). Two PR-negative tumors (EnCa K and EnCa V) were also examined in parallel. Coomassie blue staining of gels revealed that the protein patterns of all of the partially purified preparations from EnCa 101, EnCa K, and EnCa V were essentially identical. In contrast, photolabeling and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of EnCa 101 grown in the presence of 17β-estradiol or TAM revealed incorporation of [3H]R5020 into proteins of molecular weight ∼116,000 and 85,000. Labeled proteins of molecular weight 66,000, 45,000, and 35,000 were also observed. In each case, the labeling was competable with excess non-radioactive R5020. No incorporation of [3H]R5020 was observed in EnCa 101 grown in the absence of estrogen, nor was any observed in EnCa K or EnCa V.


Supported by an Internal Award from the Pennsylvania Research Corporation, by American Cancer Society Grants IN-109 and PDT-239, and by a grant from Innovative Research of America, Rockville, MD.

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