To determine the direct influence of the polyamine (PA) pathway on breast cancer phenotype, we employed a transfection approach to induce overexpression of the PA biosynthetic enzyme ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) in the hormone-responsive MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. Using a modified calcium phosphate method and an ODC cDNA coding for a truncated and more stable enzyme, we were able to achieve a moderate to marked degree of ODC overexpression (up to 150-fold) in a transient transfection system. ODC-overexpressing MCF-7 cells exhibited a selective increase in cellular putrescine content, while the levels of spermidine and spermine remained unaffected. Under defined culture conditions, overexpression of ODC resulted in a consistent but modest increase in [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA which was similar in the presence and absence of 17-β-estradiol, TGF-α, and IGF-I. In the presence of serum, the effect of ODC overexpression on basal [3H]-thymidine incorporation into DNA was inconsistent, possibly as a result of subtle differences in culture conditions. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that activation of the PA biosynthetic pathway may confer a growth advantage to breast cancer cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research