A case study in misidentification of cancer cell lines: MCF-7/AdrR cells (re-designated NCI/ADR-RES) are derived from OVCAR-8 human ovarian carcinoma cells

Cancer Lett. 2007 Jan 8;245(1-2):350-2. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2006.01.013. Epub 2006 Feb 28.


Multidrug-resistant MCF-7 breast adenocarcinoma cells (originally named MCF-7/AdrR cells and later re-designated NCI/ADR-RES) have served as an important and widely used research tool during the last two decades. However, the real identity of these cells has been in doubt since 1998 and has since been debated. The origin of NCI/ADR-RES cells has now been revealed by SNP and karyotypic analyses, carried out at the Sanger Institute and the NCI, respectively. The results of these analyses, recently posted on the Web, show that NCI/ADR-RES cells are derived from OVCAR-8 ovarian adenocarcinoma cells. The case of NCI/ADR-RES cells highlights a wide-spread problem of cell line cross-contamination and misidentification. Fortunately, this is a tractable problem that can be avoided by scrupulous genotyping of cell stocks and adoption of a few simple rules in cell culture practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Clone Cells / metabolism
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Doxorubicin