Hormonal modulation of brain tumour growth: a cell culture study

N. Gibelli, C. Zibera, G. Butti, R. Assietti, G. Sica, M. Scerrati, F. Iacopino, R. Roselli, P. Paoletti, G. Robustelli della Cuna, G. F. Rossi

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Tissue samples derived from two neuroepithelial tumours and five meningiomas were obtained at surgery from seven patients and cultured in order to study the effect of dexamethasone (DEX) and testosterone acetate (TA) on cell proliferation. Glucocorticoid and androgen receptors (GR, AR) were determined both on tissue samples (7 cases) and on five out of the seven cell cultures obtained by tumours. GR and AR were present respectively in 5 and in 4 out of the tumour specimens assayed and in 4/5 and 2/3 of the tested cell cultures. DEX activity on cell growth was tested on six cell cultures. Four of them showed a significant growth inhibition at the highest drug concentration. On the contrary, a significant growth stimulation was observed in four out of the five cultures, where GR were present, using low hormone concentrations. Treatment with pharmacological doses of TA caused a significant cytotoxicity in all the tested cultures. Low TA concentrations inhibited cell growth in one out of the two cell cultures which contained AR, but were ineffective in cultures lacking AR. Our preliminary results suggest a possible role in growth regulation by DEX and TA in intracranial tumours, on the basis of the presence of specific hormone receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1989


  • androgen receptors
  • Brain tumours
  • cell proliferation
  • dexamethasone and testosterone growth regulation
  • glucocorticoid receptors
  • tissue culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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