Inhibition of Adrenocortical Carcinoma Cell Proliferation by Steroidogenic Factor-1 Inverse Agonists

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Transcription factor steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) plays a pivotal role in the control of adrenocortical cell steroidogenesis and proliferation. SF-1 amplification and overexpression are found in most cases of childhood adrenocortical tumors (ACTs).


Our objective was to investigate the effect of SF-1 inverse agonists of the alkyloxyphenol and isoquinolinone classes on the proliferation of human adrenocortical cell lines expressing SF-1 (H295R), in conditions of basal and increased SF-1 expression, or negative for SF-1 expression (SW-13).

Main Outcome Measures:

Proliferation assays, immunoblots, flow cytometric analyses, steroid hormone assays, and reverse transcription quantitative PCR were used.


SF-1 inhibitors of the alkyloxyphenol class displayed a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on both SF-1-positive and -negative ACT cells, whereas SF-1 inverse agonists of the isoquinolinone class selectively inhibited cell proliferation elicited by SF-1 overexpression. These drugs also inhibited stimulated steroid hormone secretion and CYP21 and CYP17 mRNA expression.


SF-1 inhibitors may represent a useful tool in the chemotherapy of ACTs.

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