Abstract The influence of glucocorticoid treatments on the release of mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) envelope antigen (gp52) has been studied in C3H mammary tumor cell cultures and compared to treatment-mediated effects on tumor cell growth. Simultaneous assessment of extracellular viral antigen levels and tumor cell growth has indicated that both are coordinately affected by glucocorticoid treatment. While gp52 release is stimulated by treatment, this effect is accompanied by an inhibition of tumor cell growth. These stimulatory and inhibitory effects are mediated by dexamethasone (DEX) in a dose-dependent fashion, and both effects are more pronounced with the synthetic glucocorticoids DEX or triamcinolone acetonide (TA). Quantitation of media gp52 levels by RIA revealed the following hierarchy of glucocorticoid enhancement: TA > DEX > prednisolone > hydrocortisone > triamcinolone. A similar order of activity was observed in terms of inhibition of cell growth. The ability of TA to enhance gp52 release was 2.4–2.7 times greater than DEX, a previously proven stimulator of MMTV expression. Cell density of B9 mammary tumor cells was reduced 73% following 72 h of 10 −8 MTA treatment while C3H Mm5mt/cl mammary tumor cells were reduced by 53%. Hormone-mediated changes in in vitro gp52 release suggest that hormones might also influence plasma levels of MMTV gp52 as a systemic marker for the presence and status of murine mammary tumors. Coordinate stimulatory and inhibitory effects suggest that glucocorticoids may play a complex role in murine mammary tumorigenesis and subsequent mammary disease.