Despite considerable evidence suggesting a critical role of polyamines in the hormonal control of breast cancer growth in vitro, their role in in vivo tumor growth is not established. In these experiments, we evaluated the individual and combined effects of the polyamine biosynthesis inhibitor α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) and ovariectomy on the growth and cellular levels of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and polyamines of N-nitrosomethylurea-induced rat mammary tumors. Despite a similar suppressive effect on ODC activity, the two treatments had a different effect on polyamine levels. As expected, DFMO selectively suppressed putrescine, whereas spermidine and spermine levels were minimally or not affected at all. Since quantitatively putrescine contributes the least to overall polyamine pools, the DFMO effect on this latter parameter was modest. In contrast, ovariectomy, by suppressing the more abundant spermidine and spermine, produced a more profound suppression of total polyamine pools. This finding is in agreement with the notion that hormones not only control ODC activity, but also other enzymes involved in the synthesis of the distal polyamines. Ovariectomy was also more potent than DFMO administration in inhibiting JV-nitrosomethylurea-induced mammary tumor growth. No major additive/synergistic effects were observed between DFMO and ovariectomy on tumor growth and cellular levels of ODC activity and polyamines. DFMO administration lowered the tumor level of progesterone receptors and appeared to potentiate the suppressive effect of ovariectomy. In contrast, neither treatment, alone or in combination, altered tumor levels of estrogen receptors. DFMO administration did not affect circulating levels of estradiol and prolactin or uterine and ovarian weights, thus suggesting that its effects were not indirectly mediated through alterations of the endocrine milieu of the host.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - Jul 1 1989|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research