For the past 30 years strategies for the preclinical discovery and development of potential anticancer agents have been based largely upon the testing of agents in mice bearing transplantable leukemias and solid tumors derived from a limited number of murine as well as human sources. The feasibility of implementing an alternate approach, namely combined in vitro/in vivo screening for selective cytotoxicity among panels of human tumor cell lines derived from a broad spectrum of human solid tumors is under investigation. A group of 30 cell lines acquired from a variety of sources and representing 8 lung cancer pathologies as well as 76 cell lines representing 10 other categories of human cancer (carcinomas of colon, breast, kidney, prostate, ovary, head and neck; glioma; leukemia; melanoma; and sarcoma) have exhibited acceptable growth characteristics and suitable colorimetric profiles in a single, standard culture medium. Measurements of in vitro growth in microculture wells by cell-mediated reduction of tetrazolium showed excellent correlation (0.89 < r2 < 0.98) with measurements of cellular protein in adherent cell line cultures as well as viable cell count in suspension cell line cultures (0.94 < r2 < 0.99). Since the microculture tetrazolium assay provides sensitive and reproducible indices of growth as well as drug sensitivity in individual cell lines over the course of multiple passages and several months' cultivation, it appears suitable for initial-stage in vitro drug screening.


Supported by National Cancer Institute contract NO1-CO-23910 with Program Resources, Inc. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U. S. Government.

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