C Grundker, AR Gunthert, S Westphalen and G Emons
The expression of GnRH and its receptor as a part of an autocrine regulatory system of cell proliferation has been demonstrated in a number of human malignant tumors, including cancers of the breast, ovary and endometrium. Dose-dependent antiproliferative effects of GnRH agonists in cell lines derived from these cancers have been observed by various investigators. GnRH antagonists also have marked antiproliferative activity in most breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer cell lines tested, indicating that the dichotomy of GnRH agonists and antagonists might not apply to the GnRH system in cancer cells. The classical GnRH receptor signal-transduction mechanisms, known to operate in the pituitary, are not involved in the mediation of antiproliferative effects of GnRH analogs in cancer cells. Rather, the GnRH receptor interacts with the mitogenic signal transduction of growth factor receptors and related oncogene products associated with tyrosine kinase activity, via activation of a phosphotyrosine phosphatase, resulting in downregulation of cancer cell proliferation. In addition, GnRH activates nuclear factor kappaB and protects the cancer cells from apoptosis. Furthermore, GnRH induces activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase/activator protein-1 (AP-1) pathway independent of the known AP-1 activators, protein kinase or mitogen activated protein kinase.
G Emons, S Weiss, O Ortmann, C Grundker and KD Schulz
OBJECTIVE: More than 80% of human ovarian cancers express LHRH and its receptor. The proliferation of human ovarian cancer cell lines is reduced by both LHRH agonists and antagonists. This study was designed to further clarify the possible biological function of this LHRH system. DESIGN: As LHRH agonists and antagonists uniformly reduce proliferation of human ovarian cancer in a dose-dependent way, the effect of low concentrations of authentic LHRH was studied. In addition, longer periods of treatment (up to 9 days) were analyzed. To assess the physiological role of LHRH produced by ovarian cancer cells it was neutralized by adequate concentrations of a specific LHRH antiserum. METHODS: Human ovarian cancer cells EFO-21 and EFO-27, which express LHRH and its receptor, were incubated for 1-9 days with increasing concentrations (1pmol/l to 10 micromol/l) of authentic LHRH or with concentrations of LHRH antiserum capable of neutralizing at least 1nmol/l LHRH. Proliferation was assessed by counting cells. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Authentic LHRH reduced time- and dose-dependently proliferation (by maximally mean+/-s.e.m. 32.7 +/- 4.4%, Newman-Keuls, P < 0.001) of both ovarian cancer cell lines. At very low concentrations (1pmol/l) a marginal reduction of proliferation or no effect was observed. A mitogenic effect of authentic LHRH was never detected. Treatment of ovarian cancer cell cultures with antiserum to LHRH significantly increased (up to mean+/-s.e.m. 121.0 +/- 2.8% of controls, Newman-Keuls P <0.001) proliferation of EFO-21 and EFO-27 cells. These findings suggest that LHRH produced by human ovarian cancer cells might act as a negative autocrine regulator of proliferation.
C Grundker, AR Gunthert, M Hellriegel and G Emons
BACKGROUND AND METHODS: The majority of human endometrial (>80%), ovarian (>80%) and breast (>50%) cancers express GnRH receptors. Their spontaneous and epidermal growth-factor-induced proliferation is dose- and time-dependently reduced by treatment with GnRH and its agonists. In this study, we demonstrate that the GnRH agonist triptorelin inhibits estradiol (E2)-induced cancer cell proliferation. RESULTS: The proliferation of quiescent estrogen receptor alpha (ER alpha)-/ER beta-positive, but not of ER alpha-negative/ER beta-positive endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer cell lines, was significantly stimulated (P<0.001) (ANOVA) after treatment with E2 (10(-8) M). This effect was time- and dose-dependently antagonized by simultaneous treatment with triptorelin. The inhibitory effect was maximal at 10(-5) M concentration of triptorelin (P<0.001). In addition, we could show that, in ER alpha-/ER beta-positive cell lines, E2 induces activation of serum response element (SRE) and expression of the immediate early-response gene c-fos. These effects were blocked by triptorelin (P<0.001). E2-induced activation of estrogen-response element (ERE) was not affected by triptorelin. CONCLUSIONS: The transcriptional activation of SRE by E2 is due to ER alpha activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. This pathway is impeded by GnRH, resulting in a reduction of E2-induced SRE activation and, in consequence, a reduction of E2-induced c-fos expression. This causes downregulation of E2-induced cancer cell proliferation.
C Grundker, L Schlotawa, V Viereck and G Emons
OBJECTIVE: The expression of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) and its receptor as a part of an autocrine regulatory system of cell proliferation has been demonstrated in a number of human malignant tumours, including cancers of the endometrium. The signalling pathway through which LHRH acts in endometrial cancer is distinct from that in pituitary gonadotrophs. The LHRH receptor interacts with the mitogenic signal transduction of growth factor receptors via activation of a phosphotyrosine phosphatase, resulting in down-regulation of cancer cell proliferation. In addition, LHRH activates nucleus factor kappaB (NFkappaB) and protects the cancer cells from apoptosis. This study was conducted to investigate additional signalling mechanisms of the LHRH receptor cooperating with NFkappaB in endometrial cancer cells. DESIGN: The LHRH agonist triptorelin-induced activator protein-1 (AP-1) activation was analysed using a pAP-1-SEAP reporter gene assay. Expression of c-jun mRNA was quantified using quantitative reverse transcription (RT)-PCR. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activity was measured by quantification of phosphorylated c-Jun protein. RESULTS: Treatment of Ishikawa and Hec-1A human endometrial cancer cells with 100 nM triptorelin resulted in a 3.1-fold and 3.5-fold activation of AP-1 respectively (P<0.05). If the cells had been made quiescent, treatment with triptorelin (100 nM) resulted in a 41.7-fold and 48.6-fold increase of AP-1 activation respectively (P<0.001). This effect was completely blocked by simultaneous treatment with pertussis toxin (PTX). A 17.6-fold and 17.3-fold increase of c-jun mRNA expression respectively (P<0.001) was obtained after 20 min of stimulation with triptorelin (100 nM). Treatment with 1 nM triptorelin resulted in a 12.5-fold or an 11.9-fold increase, and treatment with 10 pM triptorelin resulted in a 6.5-fold or a 5.2-fold increase of maximal c-jun mRNA expression respectively (P<0.001). Maximal c-Jun phosphorylation (68.5-fold and 60.2-fold, respectively, P<0.001) was obtained after 90 min incubation with triptorelin (100 nM). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the LHRH agonist triptorelin stimulates the activity of AP-1 in human endometrial cancer cells mediated through PTX-sensitive G-protein alphai. In addition, triptorelin activates JNK, known to activate AP-1. In earlier investigations we have shown that triptorelin does not activate phospholipase and protein kinase C (PKC) in endometrial cancer cells. In addition, it has been demonstrated that triptorelin inhibits growth factor-induced mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK, ERK) activity. Thus triptorelin-induced activation of the JNK/AP-1 pathway in endometrial cancer cells is independent of the known AP-1 activators, PKC or MAPK (ERK).
C Grundker, L Schlotawa, V Viereck, N Eicke, A Horst, B Kairies and G Emons
BACKGROUND: The majority of human endometrial and ovarian cancer cell lines express receptors for GnRH. Their proliferation is time- and dose-dependently reduced by GnRH-I and its superagonistic analogues. Recently, we have demonstrated that, in human endometrial and ovarian cancer cell lines except for the ovarian cancer cell line EFO-27, the GnRH-I antagonist cetrorelix has antiproliferative effects comparable to those of GnRH-I agonists, indicating that the dichotomy between GnRH-I agonists and antagonists might not apply to the GnRH system in cancer cells. We were also able to show that the proliferation of human endometrial and ovarian cancer cells was dose- and time-dependently reduced by GnRH-II to a greater extent than by GnRH-I agonists. OBJECTIVE: In this study we have assessed whether or not the antiproliferative effects of the GnRH-I antagonist cetrorelix in endometrial and ovarian cancer cells are mediated through the GnRH-I receptor. METHODS: We analysed the antiproliferative effects of the GnRH-I agonist triptorelin, the GnRH-I antagonist cetrorelix and GnRH-II in a panel of endometrial and ovarian cancer cell lines expressing GnRH-I receptors, in the SK-OV-3 ovarian cancer cell line that does not express GnRH-I receptors, and in four GnRH-I receptor positive GnRH-I receptor knockout cell lines. RESULTS: We found that, after knockout of the GnRH-I receptor, the antiproliferative effects of the GnRH-I agonist triptorelin were abrogated, whereas those of the GnRH-I antagonist cetrorelix and of GnRH-II persisted. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that, in endometrial and ovarian cancer cells, the antiproliferative effects of cetrorelix and of GnRH-II are not mediated through the GnRH-I receptor.