Ten permanent clones derived from a single biopsy specimen of an untreated human adenocarcinoma of the stomach were established and characterized in vitro. Tissue culture growth properties, doubling times, plating efficiencies, growth fractions, cell cycle phase distributions, DNA indices, modal chromosome numbers, and ploidies were determined. Growth fractions were nearly 100%, and doubling times ranged from 23 to 37 hr. The plating efficiencies were generally high for tumor cells in culture, ranging up to 70%. Modal chromosome numbers varied from 45 to 48, with a wider range of variability in about 25% of the cells studied in each clone. In addition, the parent cell line (from which the clones were isolated) was shown to grow in athymic mice and to have the same histochemical and cytological characteristics as the specimen taken from the patient.

It is important to characterize human tumor cells in vitro in this detailed manner, since they serve as excellent model systems for other studies involving the heterogeneous responses to drugs and radiation. The identification of mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance and the testing of drug and radiation combination treatment schedules in such in vitro systems can provide valuable insight into the design of clinical protocols for treatment of stomach cancer in humans.

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Supported by NIH Grants DHEW 2-RO1-CA-15397-10, CA-32718 and RCDA-1K04-CA-00854.

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