The expression of growth factors for mesenchymal cells was investigated in 10 different human mammary carcinoma cell lines. Expression of mRNA for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) A-chain, PDGF B-chain, transforming growth factor-α, and insulin-like growth factor II were found in eight, nine, five, and two of the cell lines, respectively. The production of PDGF-like growth factors by the mammary carcinoma cell lines was investigated in detail. PDGF receptor competing activity and mitogenic activity, which could be neutralized by PDGF antibodies, were found in the conditioned medium of almost all the cell lines. A PDGF-like growth factor was partially purified from the conditioned medium of one of the cell lines, MCF7. A Mr 31,000 component, which was reduced to Mr 17,000, was furthermore precipitated by a PDGF antiserum from the conditioned medium of metabolically labeled MCF7 cells.

These results indicate that growth factors for mesenchymal cells are frequently expressed in human mammary carcinoma cell lines. This is of interest in relation to the fact that mammary carcinoma tumors often contain a high proportion of proliferating connective tissue cells.

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This work was supported by The Swedish Cancer Society and The Lundberg Foundation.

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