Antiproliferative actions of the synthetic androgen, mibolerone, in breast cancer cells are mediated by both androgen and progesterone receptors

Elisa J. Cops, Tina Bianco-Miotto, Nicole L. Moore, Christine L. Clarke, Stephen N. Birrell, Lisa M. Butler, Wayne D. Tilley

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Androgen signaling, mediated by the androgen receptor (AR), is a critical factor influencing growth of normal and malignant breast cells. Given the increasing use of exogenous androgens in women, a better understanding of androgen action in the breast is essential. This study compared the effects of 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and a synthetic androgen, mibolerone, on estradiol (E2)-induced proliferation of breast cancer cells. DHT modestly inhibited E2-induced proliferation and mibolerone significantly inhibited proliferation in T-47D cells. The effects of both androgens could be reversed by an AR antagonist, suggesting that their actions were mediated, in part, by AR. Whereas high physiological doses (10-100 nM) of DHT reduced E2-mediated induction of the estrogen-regulated gene progesterone receptor (PR) to basal levels, mibolerone at lower doses (1 nM) eliminated PR expression, suggesting that mibolerone may also act via the PR. In the AR positive, PR-negative MCF-7 cells, mibolerone had modest effects on E2-induced proliferation, but was a potent inhibitor of proliferation in the AR positive, PR positive MCF-7M11 PRA cells. The effects of mibolerone in breast cancer cells were similar to those of the progestin, medroxyprogesterone acetate. Our results demonstrate that mibolerone can have both androgenic and progestagenic actions in breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3-5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • Androgen receptor
  • Androgens
  • Breast cancer
  • DHT
  • MPA
  • Mibolerone
  • Progesterone receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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