ABSTRACT: Clinical data suggest that progestins have chemopreventive properties in the development of colorectal cancer. We set out to examine a potential protective effect of progestins and progesterone signaling on colon cancer development. In normal and neoplastic intestinal tissue, we found that the progesterone receptor (PR) is not expressed. Expression was confined to sporadic mesenchymal cells. To analyze the influence of systemic progesterone receptor signaling, we crossed mice that lacked the progesterone receptor (PRKO) to the Apc(Min/+) mouse, a model for spontaneous intestinal polyposis. PRKO-Apc(Min/+) mice exhibited no change in polyp number, size or localization compared to Apc(Min/+). To examine effects of progestins on the intestinal epithelium that are independent of the PR, we treated mice with MPA. We found no effects of either progesterone or MPA on gross intestinal morphology or epithelial proliferation. Also, in rats treated with MPA, injection with the carcinogen azoxymethane did not result in a difference in the number or size of aberrant crypt foci, a surrogate end-point for adenoma development. We conclude that expression of the progesterone receptor is limited to cells in the intestinal mesenchyme. We did not observe any effect of progesterone receptor signaling or of progestin treatment in rodent models of intestinal tumorigenesis.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e22620. · 4.09 Impact Factor