Background: Cross-contamination is a persistent problem in the establishment and maintenance of mammalian cell lines. The observation that the cell lines PC-3, ALVA-31, and PPC-1 all have a homozygous deletion of the alpha-catenin gene prompted us to investigate the uniqueness of these and several other widely used prostate carcinoma cell lines.
Methods: The genetic backgrounds of the putative human prostate cell lines (ALVA-31, ALVA-41, BPH-1, DU 145, JCA-1, LAPC-4, LNCaP, NCI-H660, ND-1, PC-3, PC-3MM2, PC-346C, PPC-1, and TSU-Pr1) were analyzed by cytogenetics, mutation analysis, and DNA profiling.
Results: Similarities between several groups of cell lines were found. ALVA-31, ALVA-41, PC-3, PC-3MM2, and PPC-1 all have a deletion of a C in codon 138 of the p53 gene and show almost identical DNA profiles. The ND-1 cell line has two p53 mutations that are identical to the mutations found in DU 145. These two cell lines also share a high number of structural chromosomal abnormalities and nearly identical DNA profiles. The cell lines TSU-Pr1 and JCA-1 share an identical p53 mutation in exon 5 and identical DNA profiles.
Conclusions: Several widely used prostate carcinoma cell lines apparently have identities in common. The knowledge that some of these cell lines are derivatives of one another prompts re-evaluation of previously obtained results.