Impact of infertility regimens on breast cancer cells: follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone lack a direct effect on breast cell proliferation in vitro

Treatment of cultured normal and malignant breast cells with follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and human chorionic gonadotropin did not result in cell proliferation or growth.

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Samir Alexandre Boukaidi, M.D., M.S., Anne Cooley, M.S., Ashley Hardy, M.D., Laura Matthews, B.S., Stanislav Zelivianski, Ph.D., Jacqueline S. Jeruss, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 97, Issue 2 , Pages 440-444



To examine the impact of hormones used for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) on normal and malignant breast cell growth and proliferation.


In vitro study of cultured normal and malignant breast cell lines.


Academic medical center.




Normal and malignant breast cell lines cultured in two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) systems and treated with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), or FSH with LH or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Effects of treatment on cell proliferation in 2D culture using the MTS assay and on colony growth in 3D culture.


Compared with untreated cells, normal MCF-10A cells showed a decrease in proliferation and colony size when exposed to a combination of FSH and hCG. The HCC 1937 cells treated with FSH and LH also showed a decrease in colony growth but no change in proliferation. None of the treatments had an effect on the proliferation or colony size of the MCF-7 cells.


Follicle-stimulating hormone, LH, and hCG do not appear to cause an increase in cell proliferation or colony growth in either normal or malignant mammary epithelial cell lines. The potential risk for mammary cell transformation associated with these agents may be related to indirect endocrine effects on breast cell physiology.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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