Alpha-lactalbumin production in human mammary carcinoma

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Science  14 Nov 1975:
Vol. 190, Issue 4215, pp. 673-675
DOI: 10.1126/science.1188362


Alpha-Lactalbumin was isolated from mature human milk and utilized as an immunogen in rabbits. A radioimmunoassay was developed that was capable of detecting nanogram quantities of the antigen. Alpha-Lactalbumin synthesis was detected in human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) cultivated as a continuous cell line in vitro. Other human carcinoma epithelial cell lines (throat and cervix) failed to react in this assay. The ability to synthesize alpha-lactalbumin by breast carcinoma cells appeared to be independent of the addition of prolactin to the culture medium.