mardi 10 mai 2011

A non-exhaustive list of misidentified or cross-contaminated cell lines.

            Examination of the current scientific literature indicates that a large percentage of papers reporting on experimental cancer research use human cell lines. Indeed, cell lines are expected to provide an unlimited source of specific self-replicating material, free of contaminating cells, and often easily cultured in simple standard media. Alas, since the establishment of the first cancer cell lines, problems with misidentification and cross-contamination have occurred and seriously compromised research. These problems were regularly brought to light during the past decades, but have received few audience until cell banks (American Tissue Culture Collection -ATCC-; Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen -DSMZ-; European Collection of Cell cultures -ECACC; Japanese Collection of Research Bioresources -JCRB-) decided to act by informing their clients or even by withdrawing the « false » cell lines from their catalogue.
            Various recent studies have shown that between 18% and 36% of cell lines were incorrectly designated. It is likely that new false cell lines continue to be established without the knowledge of their originators. At the same time, detection of false cell lines is rendered increasingly difficult as numbers and varieties of circulating cell lines increase. Even more worrisome is the fact that many cell lines that have been proven « false », sometimes since years, are still used by researchers who seem to ignore their true identity. Or who act as if they were ignoring it...
            This is notably illustrated by Table I, which presents a non-exhaustive list of misidentified or cross-contaminated cell lines that have been recently cited by scientists apparently not aware of their exact identity. A significant part of these cell lines have been contaminated with HeLa cells, which, indeed, are frequently used in the laboratories, are robust, and multiply rapidly.

Cell line
Putative origin
True identity

Chang Liver
Liver cells
HeLa cells (glandular cancer of the cervix)
Girardi Heart
Atrial myoblast cells
HeLa cells
Hep-2 (or Hep2)
Larynx carcinoma cells
HeLa cells
INT407 (or INT-407, or Intestine 407)
Embryonic intestine cells
HeLa cells
Monocytic leukemia cells
HeLa cells
Oral epidermoid carcinoma cells
HeLa cells
Embryonic lung epithelium cells
HeLa cells
MT-1 (or MT1)
Breast cancer cells
HeLa cells
Skin epithelium cells (keratinocytes)
HeLa cells
Amnion cells
HeLa cells
Conjunctiva-derived cells
HeLa cells
RPMI-8402 (or RPMI8402)
T cell leukemia
IM-9 (or IM9)
Multiple myeloma cells
Epstein-Barr virus-transfected B cell lymphoblastoid line
HBL-100 (or HBL100)
Breast transformed but non-tumorigenic cells
Unknown, and not female (found to contain Y chromosome)
TSU-Pr1 (or TSUPr1)
Prostate cancer cells
T24 cells (bladder cancer)
ECV-304 (or ECV304)
“Spontaneously transformed” umbilical cord endothelial cells
T24 cells
Bladder cancer cells
T24 cells
EJ-1 (or EJ1)
Bladder cancer cells
T24 cells
PPC-1 (or PPC1)
Prostate cancer cells
PC-3 cells
(prostate cancer)
ALVA-31 (or ALVA31)
Prostate cancer cells
PC-3 cells
ALVA-41 (or ALVA41)
Prostate cancer cells
PC-3 cells
Neuroblastoma cells
Ewing family tumor cells
HEL cells (erythroleukemia)
Plasma cell line (multiple myeloma)
Jijoye cells (Burkitt's lymphoma)
ARH-77 (or ARH77)
Plasma cells from a multiple myeloma patient
Epstein-Barr virus-transfected B cell lymphoblastoid line
Colon cancer cells
HT-29 cells (colon carcinoma)
SNB-19 (or SNB19)
Glioblastoma cells
U-373MG cells (glioblastoma)
Glioblastoma cells
U-373MG cells
MCF-7ADR (re-designated NCI/ADR-RES)
Breast cancer cells
OVCAR-8 cells (ovarian cancer)
MDA-MB-435 (or MDA-MB-435S, or MDA-MB435, or MDA-435)
Breast cancer cells
M14 cells (melanoma)

Source: Persistent use of "false" cell lines. Lacroix M. Int J Cancer. 2008 Jan 1;122(1):1-4

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