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Cancer Res. 1997 Mar 1;57(5):995-1002.

Generation and genetic characterization of immortal human prostate epithelial cell lines derived from primary cancer specimens.

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  • 1Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Difficulty in establishing long-term human prostate epithelial cell lines has impeded efforts to understand prostate tumorigenesis and to develop alternative therapies for prostate cancer. In the current study, we describe a method that was successful in generating 14 immortal benign or malignant prostate epithelial cell cultures from primary adenocarcinomas of the prostate resected from six successive patients. Immortalization with the E6 and E7 transforming proteins of human papilloma virus serotype 16 was necessary to establish long-term cultures. Microscopic examination of fresh tumor specimens exhibited a variable mixture of benign and malignant epithelium. Thus, single-cell cloning of tumor-derived cell cultures was essential for defining tumor cell lines. Efforts to characterize these cultures using traditional criteria such as karyotype, growth in nude mice, and prostate-specific antigen expression were noninformative. However, allelic loss of heterozygosity (LOH) represents a powerful alternative method for characterizing tumor cell lines originating from primary adenocarcinomas of the prostate. Microdissected fresh tumors from four of six patients revealed LOH at multiple loci on chromosome 8p, as assessed by PCR. LOH on chromosome 8p matching the patterns found in microdissected tumors was also observed in a tumor-derived cell line and its clones, as well as in one clone from a tumor-derived cell line from a second patient. LOH was not observed in immortal lines generated from autologous benign prostatic epithelium, seminal vesicle epithelium, or fibroblasts. The multifocal nature of prostate cancer, as well as the presence of an entire spectrum of malignant transformation within individual prostate glands, necessitates this type of careful analysis of derivative cell cultures for their validation as in vitro models that accurately reflect the primary cancers from which they are derived.

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