Primary monolayer cultures of normal and malignant human mammary epithelial cells were tested for fibronectin by indirect immunofluorescence using antisera specific for fibronectin. This protein was not detectable on either the normal or malignant epithelial cells. Similar results were obtained for normal and malignant mouse mammary epithelial cell cultures. Control normal and transformed fibroblasts exhibited the expected result: the normal cells were positive and the transformed cells were negative. With the use of supernatant fluids from the same cultures or an agar-overlay assay on viable cells, high levels of plasminogen-dependent fibrinolytic activity were detectable in both the normal and malignant mammary cells. Thus, two characteristics that distinguish normal from transformed fibroblasts do not serve as markers of malignancy in mammary epithelial/carcinoma systems.

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