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J Pathol. 2004 Aug;203(4):927-32.

Metastatic dissemination of human malignant oral keratinocyte cell lines following orthotopic transplantation reflects response to TGF-beta 1.

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Department of Oral and Dental Science, Division of Oral Medicine, Pathology and Microbiology, University of Bristol Dental School, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol, BS1 2LY, UK.


This study examined the behaviour of nine human malignant oral keratinocyte cell lines following orthotopic transplantation to the floor of the mouth of athymic mice. Tumourigenesis, local spread, and metastatic dissemination were correlated with known cellular responses to transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1). Six of nine cell lines were tumourigenic; four of these cell lines showed local spread which was characterized by vascular and bone invasion. Metastatic spread was uncommon, with only 9% of animals with primary tumours developing metastases and these were almost exclusively found in the regional lymph nodes; there was one pulmonary metastasis and no liver deposits. Tumour cell behaviour did not reflect the clinical stage of the original tumours. Cell lines that were resistant to TGF-beta 1-induced growth inhibition were more likely to form primary tumours, exhibit local spread, and metastasize than cells that were growth-inhibited by the ligand. The data demonstrate that tumourigenicity and tumour behaviour in this orthotopic mouse model varied between cell lines and that the pattern of local invasion and metastasis was similar to that seen in human oral cancer. Furthermore, cell lines that were refractory to the growth inhibitory effects of TGF-beta 1 behaved more aggressively than cells that underwent ligand-induced cell-cycle arrest.

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