Establishment and characterization of cancer cell cultures and xenografts derived from primary or metastatic mullerian cancers

Claire F. Verschraegen, Wei Hu, Yu Du, John Mendoza, Janet Early, Michael Deavers, Ralph S. Freedman, Robert C. Bast, Andrzej P. Kudelka, John J. Kavanagh, Beppino C. Giovanella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to characterize cell cultures and xenografts derived from patients with ovarian cancer. Experimental Design: Ninety specimens from 67 patients were plated in RPMI 1640 or inoculated in nude mice. Growth characteristics of cell cultures and xenografts were determined. Expression of receptors for estrogen, progesterone, androgen, epithelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, HER-2/erbB-2/c-neu proto-oncogene, and the P53 expression were characterized by immunocytochemistry in 28 cell cultures. Results: Forty-nine percent of samples were cultured successfully in vitro. Ascitic and pleural effusion specimens were more likely to produce a cell culture or a xenograft than solid tissue specimens (P < 0.005). All of the cell cultures had an epithelial morphology, and 89% were aneuploid with a mean DNA index of 1.6 (range, 0.9-3.0). Of 54 and 61 specimens inoculated into nude mice i.p. and s.c., 15 (28%) and 18 (30%) produced a xenograft, respectively, with two-thirds of these xenografts being reproducibly tumorigenic. The median time to first passage was 21 weeks for cell cultures and 8-12 weeks for xenografts. Expression of epithelial growth factor receptor, HER-2/erbB-2/c-neu proto-oncogene, fibroblast growth factor receptor, estrogen, progesterone, and androgen was seen in 24, 21, 31, 17, 43, and 18%, respectively. P53 was overexpressed in 62% of cell cultures analyzed. Conclusions: Ovarian cancer cells collected from effusions are easier to grow in vitro than in vivo. The only characteristic that may be associated with tumorigenicity was abnormal P53 expression. This panel of ovarian cancer materials provides useful models for biological or therapeutical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-852
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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