Further evidence to support the melanocytic origin of MDA-MB-435

Mol Pathol. 2002 Oct;55(5):294-9. doi: 10.1136/mp.55.5.294.


Background/aims: Until recently, the cell line MDA-MB-435 was widely accepted as originating from a breast cancer. However, microarray derived data have suggested that this cell line may in fact originate from an occult melanoma. This study was designed to investigate this hypothesis further.

Methods: Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry were used to investigate the tissue of origin of two sublines of MDA-MB-435 (MDA-MB-435 S and MDA-MB-435 HGF). The expression of a panel of genes typical of breast cells or melanocytes was analysed.

Results: The MDA-MD-435 cell lines expressed none of the genes characteristic of breast cancer cells but did express several genes commonly expressed by melanocytes.

Conclusions: These results strongly suggest that MDA-MB-435 is indeed of melanoma origin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Library
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Melanocytes / pathology
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / pathology*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Neoplasm Proteins