Establishment and characterization of a human histiocytic lymphoma cell line (U-937)

Int J Cancer. 1976 May 15;17(5):565-77. doi: 10.1002/ijc.2910170504.


A human hematopoietic cell line (U-937) with exceptional characteristics was derived from a patient with generalized histiocytic lymphoma. The morphology of the cell line was identical to that of the tumor cells in the pleural effusion from which the line was derived. Since Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) carrying diploid lymphoblastoid cell lines unrelated to the tumor population often become established in vitro from non-Burkitt lymphoma explants, several parameters were studied to discriminate the U-937 from such lines: morphology in vitro, growth characteristics, cytochemistry, surface receptor pattern, Ig production, lysozyme production, beta2-microglobulin production, presence of EBV genome and karyotype. In all these respects U-937 differed from prototype lymphoblastoid cell lines. The histiocytic origin of the cell line was shown by its capacity for lysozyme production and the strong esterase activity (naphtol AS-D acetate esterase inhibited by NaF) of the cells. It is therefore concluded that the U-937 is a neoplastic, histiocytic cell line.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • HLA Antigens
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / immunology
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / metabolism
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse / pathology*
  • Male
  • Muramidase / biosynthesis
  • Phagocytosis
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / biosynthesis
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / biosynthesis


  • Culture Media
  • HLA Antigens
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • beta 2-Microglobulin
  • Muramidase