Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Exposure of mcf-7 breast cancer cells to electromagnetic fields up-regulates the plasminogen activator system. med./bio.

Published in: Int J Gynecol Cancer 2009; 19 (3): 334-338

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the effects of low frequency electromagnetic fields on the plasminogen activator system in two different MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines.

Background/further details

The plasminogen activator system is involved in the degradation of the extracellular matrix (important process of the multiple steps of apoptosis).



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 48 hr or 96 hr

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 48 hr or 96 hr
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup homogeneous field: variation less than 5 %; 75 cm long copper tube with a diameter of 30 cm, closed on either end with a copper plate; a bifiliar wire wrapped around the tube for heating; on top of this a second layer of wiring was wound and connected to a signal generator
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 1.2 µT - - - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

In MCF-7 cells exposed to 1.2 µT electromagnetic field gene expression of the urokinase plasminogen activator gene and of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 was markedly increased. The gene expression of the receptor for urokinase plasminogen activator was only marginally increased in one of the two cell lines and expression of the tissue plasminogen activator was at least slightly down-regulated in exposed breast cancer cells.
The data showed that environmental electromagnetic fields increase the expression of important genes of the plasminogen activator system. The increased expression of urokinase plasminogen activator gene and of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 may cause a higher metastatic potential of breast tumors.

Study character:

Study funded by

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