Oncogenic potential of erbB-2 in human mammary epithelial cells

Jacalyn H. Pierce, Paul Arnstein, Eddi DiMarco, Jennifer Artrip, Matthias H. Kraus, Fulvio Lonardo, Pier Paolo Di Fiore, Stuart A. Aaronson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction of the normal erbB-2 gene into immortalized human mammary epithelial cells (184B5) by tranfection conferred a growth advantage to these cells both in vitro and in vivo. The 184B5 cells overexpressing erbB-2 formed colonies in semi-solid medium, frequently induced transient nodules in athymic mice and produced progressive tumors in vivo at a low frequency. Those tumors which did arise from erbB-2-transfected cells displayed substantially higher levels of normal gp185erb-2 protein when compared to the original transfectants, consistent with their selection for increased erbB-2 expression. Introduction of genes encoding genetically altered erbB-2 molecules into 184B5 cells increased their colonyforming efficiency and converted the cells to a tumorigenic phenotype at a high frequency. When the biological and biochemical properties of human mammary carcinoma cell lines known to overexpress erbB-2 were compared to the transfected 184B5 lines, they behaved most like those overexpressing the normal erbB-2 protein. Results indicate that overexpression of normal erbB-2 may directly contribute to the transformation of human mammary epithelium if sufficient levels of erhB-2 protein are expressed or if the erbB-2 gene is genetically altered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189-1194
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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