The mitogenic role of estradiol on the growth of colon cancer was examined in mice. Sham-operated or ovariectomized mice were injected with cancer cells and received estradiol treatment. Tumor growth was noted: tumor weights were higher in female than male mice. The growth of the tumors was least in ovariectomized mice and highest in estradiol-treated ovariectomized mice. Tumor messenger RNA (mRNA) levels for ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and proto-oncogenes c-myc, c-fos, and H-ras were examined. Two transcripts (2.2 and 2.7 kilobase pairs) of ODC were observed. The steadystate mRNA levels for ODC paralleled the changes observed in the weight of the tumors in all groups of animals. Less dramatic changes were observed in c-myc mRNA levels. No significant differences were observed in the mRNA levels for H-ras and c-fos. It thus appears likely that an increase in the ODC mRNA levels and, to a lesser extent, an increase in c-myc mRNA levels may be some of the important mechanisms by which estradiol mediates its growth effects on colon cancer cells in vivo.
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