An in vitro method to select malignant cells from surgical biopsies of breast cancer patients

Biol Proced Online. 2005;7:8-16. doi: 10.1251/bpo100. Epub 2005 Jan 24.

Abstract

To date, breast cancer (BC) research is mainly studied with cell lines. These cells were passaged multiple times, acquiring phenotypes, additional mutations and epigenetic changes. These changes make the passaged cell lines different from the original malignancy. Thus cell lines, although useful as models could be improved with additional studies with primary BC. It is difficult to obtain malignant cells from breast tissues without contamination from surrounding healthy cells. Selection and expansion of malignant cells from surgical tissues have proved to be daunting tasks. This study describes a reliable and reproducible method for isolating and expanding malignant cells from surgical breast tissues. The method uses co-cultures with BM stroma to select for the cancer cells while the healthy cells undergo rapid cell death. Studies are described to show the cloning efficiencies and sensitivity of the method using surgical samples of varying sizes, different stages of BC, and samples from needle biopsies.