Progesterone facilitates chromosome instability (aneuploidy) in p53 null normal mammary epithelial cells

T. M. Goepfert, M. Mccarthy, F. S. Kittrell, C. Stephens, R. L. Ullrich, B. R. Brinkley, D. Medina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Mammary epithelial cells from p53 null mice have been shown recently to exhibit an increased risk for tumor development. Hormonal stimulation markedly increased tumor development in p53 null mammary cells. Here we demonstrate that mammary tumors arising in p53 null mammary cells are highly aneuploid, with greater than 70% of the tumor cells containing altered chromosome number and a mean chromosome number of 56. Normal mammary cells of p53 null genotype and aged less than 14 wk do not exhibit aneuploidy in primary cell culture. Significantly, the hormone progesterone, but not estrogen, increases the incidence of aneuploidy in morphologically normal p53 null mammary epithelial cells. Such cells exhibited 40% aneuploidy and a mean chromosome number of 54. The increase in aneuploidy measured in p53 null tumor cells or hormonally stimulated normal p53 null cells was not accompanied by centrosome amplification. These results suggest that normal levels of progesterone can facilitate chromosomal instability in the absence of the tumor suppressor gene, p53. The results support the emerging hypothesis based both on human epidemiological and animal model studies that progesterone markedly enhances mammary tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2221-2229
Number of pages9
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Aneuploidy
  • Centrosomes
  • Estrogen
  • Steroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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