Send to

Choose Destination

Evaluation of a rapid tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay for selecting anticancer drugs.

Author information

Department of Medical Research, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, R.O.C.


A rapid colorimetric microtiter assay was used in this study to analysis drug cytotoxicity. Through the reduction of tetrazolium salt, MTT [3-(4, 5-dimethyl-thiazol-2-yl) 2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide], by living cells to form a blue formazan product. The level of MTT cleavage by viable cells of various origins was found to be in direct proportion to the number of cells (between 500-10,000 cells/well). By MTT methods, the growth profile and chemosensitivity of 4 human tumor cell lines (KB, Hep-2, HA22T, and CoLo205) to 4 anticancer drugs (adriamycin, 5-fluorouracil, 6-mercaptopurine and cyclophosphamide) were assessed. Results from this assay were compared with data assimilated simultaneously by dye exclusion and clonogenic assay. In general, good correlation was observed among the clonogenic, dye exclusion and MTT assays for continuous drug exposures, yet the MTT assay was more rapid in testing in vitro chemosensitivity against human tumor cell lines. The dye exclusion assay was the most sensitive, followed by the clonogenic and then the MTT assays. The ID50 values obtained from the MTT assay were approximately 3 to 5 times lower than those from the other two methods. Based on these studies, MTT assay appears to be a rapid, convenient, economical and reasonable tool in the initial-stage screening of large number of the in vitro anticancer drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center