Cell Culture of Human Colon Adenomas and Carcinomas

J. K V Willson, G. N. Bittner, T. D. Oberley, L. F. Meisner, J. L. Weese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Cell lines were established from colon adenomas, including tubular and villous polyps, primary adenocarcinomas, and metastases arising in patients with colon adenocarcinomas. The protocol for cultivating these diverse tissues includes primary cultivation of tissue explants on a type I collagen gel followed by nonenzymatic subculture of the epithelial outgrowth. All early passages were accomplished using low subculture ratios. Cultured cells elaborate morphological structures which are similar to features present in the tissues from which they were cultivated. Specifically, all structural features of colon epithelial cells were identified, including junction formation, prominent microvilli, and mucin secretion, in several cell lines. Five cell lines cultured from colonic neoplasms at different stages of cancer progression were selected for detailed characterization. Cells grown from two tubular polyps had normal human karyotypes. Cells from a villous polyp and all adenocarcinomas were aneuploid with stable marker chromosomes. The established cell lines exhibit distinct phenotypes based on growth characteristics in vitro and in athymic mice; and it is suggested that these cell lines represent useful models for studying the evolution of colon cancer from a benign to an aggressive cell type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2704-2713
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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