Epidermal growth factor, phorbol esters, and aurintricarboxylic acid are survival factors for MDA-231 cells exposed to adriamycin

Avraham Geier*, Rachel Beery, Michal Haimsohn, Rina Hemi, Zvi Malik, Avraham Karasik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability of epidermal growth factor (EGF), insulinlike growth factor-1 (IGF-1), insulin, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), and aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA) to protect the human breast cancer cell line MDA-231 from death induced by the anticancer drug adriamycin was investigated. Cell death was induced in the MDA-231 cells either by a short-time exposure to a high dose of adriamycin (2 μg · ml -1 · 1 h -1) and further culturing in the absence of the drug, or by continuous exposure to a low dose of adriamycin (0.3 μg/ml). Cell death was evaluated after 48 h of incubation by several techniques (trypan blue dye exclusion, lactic dehydrogenase activity, cellular ATP content, transmission electron microscopy, and DNA fragmentation). EGF, TPA, and ATA, each at an optimal concentration of 20 ng/ml, 5 ng/ml, and 100 μg/ml respectively, substantially enhanced survival of cells exposed either to a high or low dose of adriamycin. Neither IGF-1 nor insulin, each at concentrations of 20 ng/ml, had an effect on cell survival. The three survival factors enhanced protein synthesis in the untreated cells and attenuated the continuous decrease in protein synthesis in the adriamycin-treated cells. Moreover, the three survival factors protected the MDA-231 cells from death in the absence of protein synthesis (cycloheximide 30 μg/ml). These results suggest that EGF, TPA, and ATA promote survival of adriamycin pretreated cells by at least two mechanisms: enhancement of protein synthesis and by a protein synthesis independent process, probably a posttranslational modification effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-874
Number of pages8
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • EGF
  • TPA
  • adriamycin
  • aurintricarboxylic acid
  • cell-survival


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