Interferon-β can induce progesterone receptors in human endometrial adenocarcinoma

Anna M. Codegoni, Fabio Landoni, Sebastiano Lomonico, Giuseppe Losa, Costantino Mangioni, Monica Taverna, Valeria Lucchini, Maurizio D'Incalci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND. The induction of estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER and PGR) has been reported in breast and endometrial cancer cells exposed to human fibroblast interferon-β (hlFN-β). Clinical verification of this finding might provide the rationale for new therapeutic approaches. This study was designed to evaluate whether clinical treatment with high doses of hlFN-β induced ER and PGR in patients with endometrial adenocarcinoma. METHODS. Two biopsies were obtained, 1 before and 1 after hlFN-β treatment (3 x 106 i.m. every other day for 3 weeks) from 36 patients with endometrial adenocarcinoma. ER and PGR were determined with standard procedures using radiolabeled ligands. RESULTS. hIFN-β treatment did not affect the proportion of ER-positive (i.e., > 15 fmol/mg protein) or PGR-positive (i.e., >20 fmol/mg protein) cases. However, in patients with detectable ER and PGR at baseline, hIFN-β raised the levels. Using a 35% difference before and after therapy as a cut-off, 72 and 79% of cases had increases in ER and PGR, respectively. The difference was highly significant for PGR. CONCLUSiONS. In patients with endometrial adenocarcinoma with undetectable ER or PGR, hIFN- β did not induce the expression of these receptors. When the receptors were present they were upregulated by hIFN-β. Whether this increase in receptor levels, particularly PGR, has therapeutic applications remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-453
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 1996


  • endometrial adenocarcinoma
  • estrogen receptors
  • hIFN-β
  • progesterone receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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