Generation of suitable in vitro models is critical for understanding processes associated with development and progression of prostate cancer in high-risk African-American men. The actively proliferating early RC-165N cells derived from normal tissue adjacent to a tumor found on radical prostatectomy specimen were transduced through infection with a retrovirus vector expressing the human telomerase catalytic subunit (hTERT). Both infected and uninfected cells were passaged for serial subcultivation and were characterized. A high level of telomerase activity was detected in RC-165N/hTERT cells. RC-165N/hTERT cells are currently growing well at passage 30, while RC-165N cells senesced within passage 3. These immortalized cells showed no cell growth in soft agar, poor growth above the agar layer, and no tumor formation in SCID mice. PSA, AR, PSCA, NKX3.1 and cytokeratin 8 were all expressed in this immortalized cell line. Growth is stimulated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and lysates are immunoreactive with AR antibody by Western blot analysis. The telomerase expression in human prostate epithelial cells can itself induce immortalization and does not induce changes associated with a transformed phenotype, and that these immortalized cells express prostate-specific markers. The establishment of this cell line provides an opportunity for further development of an in vitro model of carcinogenesis for African-American prostate cancer.

[Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, Volume 45, 2004]