• 1 International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malays J Pathol, 2003 Dec;25(2):129-34.
PMID: 16196369


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) is present, predominantly in latent forms, in normal and malignant breast tissue. The mechanisms by which latent TGFbeta is activated physiologically remain largely an enigma. The objective of this study was to assess whether the proteases, cathepsin D and prostate specific antigen (PSA) could activate latent TGFbeta1 and TGFbeta2 in conditioned media of the hormone-dependent MCF-7 and hormone-independent MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cell lines, newly purchased from ATCC. Both of the cell lines were seeded in 6-well plates 2 days prior to treatment with varying concentrations of cathepsin D and PSA. Active TGFbeta1 and TGFbeta2 in the media were then measured by ELISA after 4, 8, 24 and 72 hours of treatment. TGFbeta1 and TGFbeta2 mRNA expression of both cell lines were measured by RT-PCR to determine whether any increase in level of active TGFbeta1 and TGFbeta2 was due to increased production. There was a significant increase in only active TGFbeta2 levels in the MDA-MB-231 cell line with both treatments. Cathepsin D and PSA did not have any effect on TGFbeta1 and TGFbeta2 mRNA expression. Cathepsin D and PSA were unable to activate latent TGFbeta1 and TGFbeta2 in these two breast cancer cell lines. A constant level of TGFbeta2 mRNA in the control and treated MDA-MB-231 cells suggests that the increase in level of active TGFbeta2 was not a result of increased production but was likely to be due to activation by a mechanism independent of cathepsin D and PSA.

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