Estrogen receptor analysis by flow cytometry

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Science  25 May 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4651, pp. 876-879
DOI: 10.1126/science.6719116


A fluorescently labeled estradiol, N'-fluoresceino-N'-(17 beta-estradiol hemisuccinamide) thiourea (FE) was used for measuring estrogen receptor content per cell in tumor cells. The cellular content of FE was measured quantitatively by flow cytometry. Binding of FE occurs in the nanomolar concentration range, an indication of the high affinity of the labeled estradiol. Competition of FE for binding sites is observed with estrogens, but not with progestins, androgens, or glucocorticosteroids, indicating the specificity of FE binding. In contrast to other estrogen receptor assays, this new technique requires a small sample size (about 5000 cells) and permits the assessment of heterogeneity in estrogen receptor expression among tumor cells.

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