Molecular characterization of human prostate carcinoma cell lines

Prostate. 2003 Nov 1;57(3):205-25. doi: 10.1002/pros.10290.


Background: This study presents a comprehensive survey and characterization of available prostate carcinoma cell lines, most of which have been widely used but are incompletely characterized.

Methods: A total of 21 cell lines were investigated, including three "classical" (DU 145, LNCaP, and PC-3) and 18 "non-classical" lines (1013L, 22Rv1, ALVA-55, ALVA-101, ARCaP, CWR-R1, DuCaP, DuPro-1, LAPC-4, MDA PCa 1, MDA PCa 2a, MDA PCa 2b, NCI-H660, PC-346C, PC-93, PSK-1, UM-SCP-1, and VCaP). Cytogenetics, DNA profiling, expression of basal, luminal, and neuroendocrine differentiation markers, and mutation analyses of the TP53 and androgen receptor (AR) genes were performed.

Results: Based on cytogenetics and DNA profiling analyses, out of the 18 "non-classical" lines, six were confirmed to be unique, eight (in four pairs) were confirmed to be related in origin, and four lines were identified as cross-contaminants. Of this latter group, PC-93 was found to be a derivative of HeLa, whereas DuPro-1, ALVA-55, and ALVA-101 were derivatives of PC-3. The 17 genuine prostate cell lines expressed keratin 8 (K8) and K18. Nine showed AR expression, of which five harbored mutations in the AR gene. Prostate-specific antigen and DD3 were exclusively detected in AR expressing cell lines. Seven lines expressed the basal cell marker K5, three of these lines showed co-expression of AR.

Conclusions: This study defines a collection of 17 genuine prostate carcinoma cell lines. This collection, although small, constitutes a variety of different types and stages of prostate cancer, while it also partly reflects the heterogeneous nature of this malignancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma / genetics
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Neoplasm / chemistry
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Karyotyping
  • Keratins / genetics
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Keratins
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen