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Tumour Biol. 2017 Oct;39(10):1010428317724283. doi: 10.1177/1010428317724283.

Characterization of immortalized human mammary epithelial cell line HMEC 2.6.

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1 Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, USA.
2 Department of Pediatrics and Cincinnati Children's Hospital, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA.
3 For You Dentistry, 477 Union Ave., Bridgewater, NJ.
4 Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, USA.
5 Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University, Springfield, IL, USA.


Primary human mammary epithelial cells have a limited life span which makes it difficult to study them in vitro for most purposes. To overcome this problem, we have developed a cell line that was immortalized using defined genetic elements, and we have characterized this immortalized non-tumorigenic human mammary epithelial cell line to establish it as a potential model system. human mammary epithelial cells were obtained from a healthy individual undergoing reduction mammoplasty at SIU School of Medicine. The cells were transduced with CDK4R24C followed by transduction with human telomerase reverse transcriptase. Post all manipulation, the cells displayed a normal cell cycle phase distribution and were near diploid in nature, which was confirmed by flow cytometry and karyotyping. In vitro studies showed that the cells were anchorage dependent and were non-invasive in nature. The cell line expressed basal epithelial markers such as cytokeratin 7, CD10, and p63 and was negative for the expression of estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor. Upon G-band karyotyping, the cell line displayed the presence of a few cytogenic abnormalities, including trisomy 20 and trisomy 7, which are also commonly present in other immortalized mammary cell lines. Furthermore, the benign nature of these cells was confirmed by multiple in vitro and in vivo experiments. Therefore, we think that this cell line could serve as a good model to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the development and progression of breast cancer and to also assess the effect of novel therapeutics on human mammary epithelial cells.


Breast cancer; human mammary epithelial cells; immortalization; non-tumorigenic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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