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In Vitro. 1984 Jun;20(6):493-504.

Establishment and characterization of a new human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line.


A human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (FOCUS--Friendship of China and United States) was derived from a patient with primary hepatocellular carcinoma. This cell line has been in continuous culture over an 18-mo period. The morphological and ultrastructural features of FOCUS are consistent with its neoplastic hepatocellular origin. FOCUS cells contain aspartate aminotransferase and glucose-6-phosphatase activity. In addition, alpha 1-antitrypsin, fibrinogen, alpha fetoprotein, and carcinoembryonic antigens were detectable in the cytoplasm of the cultured cells by immunochemical staining techniques. The karyotype of the FOCUS cell is human in origin and its contains human DNA sequences as detected by molecular hybridization analysis. The FOCUS cells do not show evidence of density-dependent inhibition of growth under confluent conditions. Repeated growth curves over an 18-mo period were identical, revealing a doubling time of 42 to 48 h. The malignant potential of FOCUS cells was further demonstrated by their ability to lead to gross tumor formation after subcutaneous injection into nude mice. From one of the solid tumors grown in nude mice, recultured cell lines have been established and found to have properties identical to the original FOCUS cell line. This FOCUS cell line represents an additional model for further investigation of tumor specific antigens and the relationship between hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatocellular carcinoma. Preliminary molecular characterization has indicated the existence of integrated HBV sequences within the FOCUS genome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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