Variations in amplification and expression of the ornithine decarboxylase gene in human breast cancer cells

Thresia Thomas, David T. Kiang, Olli A. Jänne, T. J. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The polyamine biosynthetic pathway plays a critical role in the growth of human breast cancer cells. Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is a key enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis. To understand the regulation of ODC activity and polyamine accumulation in breast cancer cells, we studied amplification and expression of the ODC gene in four breast cancer cell lines. ODC gene dosage was analyzed by Southern blot hybridization and was 4- to 12-fold higher in T-47D, MDA-MB-231, and BT-20 cell lines than in the MCF-7 cell line. ODC mRNA level was 2- to 3-fold higher in BT-20 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines than in the other two lines. We also measured ODC activity and polyamine concentration in these cell lines, and determined their sensitivity to an ODC inhibitor, difluoromethylornithine (DFMO). BT-20 cells showed significantly higher ODC activity and polyamine concentrations than the other three cell lines. BT-20 cells were resistant to the growth inhibitory effect of DFMO even at 4 mM concentration, whereas the proliferation of MCF-7, T47D, and MDA-MB-231 cells was inhibited by this drug. These results suggest that different transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms control the regulation of ODC gene expression in breast cancer cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-267
Number of pages11
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


  • breast cancer
  • difluoromethylornithine
  • ornithine decarboxylase
  • polyamines


Dive into the research topics of 'Variations in amplification and expression of the ornithine decarboxylase gene in human breast cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this