Extracts from uterine cervical and body cancers, but not from benign tumor or intact tissues tested, were found to contain a growth-promoting activity which induced the proliferation of human endometrial fibroblasts. Exposure of cultured fibroblasts to the cancer extracts increased the rate of [3H]thymidine incorporation in a dose-dependent manner. The activity was heat-labile, and not inactivated by removal of lipid-soluble material suggesting that the activity is associated with a protein. When the fibroblasts were preincubated with estradiol for 12 hours, but not for 1 hour, the extract-induced fibroblast proliferation was suppressed. The inhibitory effect of estradiol was dose related (EC50: 10 nM) and non-competitive, suggesting that the steroid may reduce the sensitivity of fibroblasts to the extracts. This is the first report to provide direct evidence that estradiol may play an inhibitory role in the action of growth factor-like peptide produced from malignant tumors.

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