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Anticancer Res. 1999 Sep-Oct;19(5B):3827-36.

Establishment and characterization of four cell lines derived from human head and neck squamous cell carcinomas for an autologous tumor-fibroblast in vitro model.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


To study interactions between tumor cells and stromal elements, we established carcinoma cell lines as well as tumor-derived and skin fibroblast cultures from four patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. For the characterization of the tumor cell lines we a) determined population doubling times, b) assessed morphological features by light and electron microscopy, c) investigated the expression of typical markers by immunohistochemistry, including various intermediate filaments and surface antigens, d) compared these findings with expression patterns in the respective original tumor specimens, e) evaluated p53 mutations in tumor specimens and cell lines, f) performed chromosome analysis, g) investigated the tumorigenicity in athymic mice, and h) tested the formation of both tumor and mixed tumor-fibroblast multicellular spheroids. Tumor cell cultures were considered established cell lines when maintained and passaged over a period of two years after primary explantation. The in vitro morphology of the cell lines showed well preserved characteristics of squamous cell carcinoma, and electron microscopy as well as immunohistochemistry revealed their squamous type of differentiation. All cell lines presented the same p53 genotype as the respective original tumors. Furthermore, they were successfully xenotransplanted into nude mice and formed both pure and mixed three dimensional spheroids. This experimental model allows the in vitro and in vivo investigation of various tumor-fibroblast interactions.

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