The effects of androgens and estrogens on human prostatic cells in culture

Hudson, R.W.

Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 59(9): 949-956


ISSN/ISBN: 0008-4212
PMID: 6170410
DOI: 10.1139/y81-145
Accession: 006660833

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A cell culture system was developed to assess the response of human prostatic carcinoma cells to the presence of androgens and estrogens. A single cell suspension of these cells was incubated in minimum essential medium, in the absence of added sex steroids (standard culture), for 24 h. Equal aliquots of these cultured cells were incubated for a further 24-72 h in standard medium or in medium to which testosterone (T, 17.4 nM), dihydrotestosterone (DHT, 1.7 nM) or estradiol (E2, 0.36 nM) had been added. At the end of the incubations, the levels of tartrate-inhibitable acid phosphatase were compared in the standard cultures and the cultures to which sex steroids had been added. There were 3 patterns of response of patients' cells to the presence of androgens. From 91 cell cultures, obtained from 85 patients, androgens were associated with an increased acid phosphatase production in 58. In 22 incubations, there was no androgenic effect on acid phosphatase production, and in 11 incubations, androgens were associated with lower enzyme levels than in the standard cultuers. The qualitative effects of T and DHT were the same, but the quantitative effect of DHT was greater than that of T in those experiments in which there was a positive androgenic effect on acid phosphatase production. In 10 of 46 incubations with E2, acid phosphatase levels were lower than the standard incubations, while in 28 there was no difference in enzyme levels. In 8 incubations, E2 was associated with a greater acid phosphatase production than that found in the standard cultures. In cultures of the cells from 180 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia and 5 men with normal prostatic tissue, androgens and estrogens had no effect on acid production by these cells, even at DHT concentrations of 1.7 .times. 10-7 M. Cultured prostatic carcinoma cells behave differently in response to sex steroids than do cells from benign hyperplastic or normal prostatic tissues. [These results are discussed in relation to cancer therapy.].