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J Pathol. 1990 Mar;160(3):259-69.

The behaviour of human oral squamous cell carcinoma in cell culture.

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Department of Oral Medicine, Surgery and Pathology, University of Bristol, U.K.


This study examined the initial behaviour of 48 human oral squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) in cell culture. The early outcome of these cultures (contamination, absence of cell growth, epithelial cell senescence/fibroblast overgrowth, extended keratinocyte growth) did not reflect the clinical characteristics of the tumours of origin. Four new human oral SCC cell lines were characterized more extensively. Each cell line was immortal, 3T3-independent, and expressed low degrees of anchorage independence (CFE less than 4 per cent). Two of the four cell lines were tumorigenic in athymic mice. All of the cell lines expressed keratin intermediate filaments and two showed weak co-expression of vimentin. A wide range of keratins were expressed by the tumour xenografts; cornified keratins (K1, K10) were only expressed in the absence of K19 and vimentin, and vice versa. The nuclear:cytoplasmic ratio and the degree of serum independence correlated with each other and with the STNMP clinical grading of the tumours of origin.

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