Establishment and characterization of a novel head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell line USC-HN1

Head Neck Oncol. 2010 Feb 22;2:5. doi: 10.1186/1758-3284-2-5.


Background: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is an aggressive and lethal malignancy. Publically available cell lines are mostly of lingual origin, or have not been carefully characterized. Detailed characterization of novel HNSCC cell lines is needed in order to provide researchers a concrete keystone on which to build their investigations.

Methods: The USC-HN1 cell line was established from a primary maxillary HNSCC biopsy explant in tissue culture. The immortalized cells were then further characterized by heterotransplantation in Nude mice; immunohistochemical staining for relevant HNSCC biomarkers; flow cytometry for surface markers; cytogenetic karyotypic analysis; human papillomavirus and Epstein-Barr virus screening; qRT-PCR for oncogene and cytokine analysis; investigation of activated, cleaved Notch1 levels; and detailed 35,000 gene microarray analysis.

Results: Characterization experiments confirmed the human HNSCC origin of USC-HN1, including a phenotype similar to the original tumor. Viral screening revealed no HPV or EBV infection, while western blotting displayed significant upregulation of activated, cleaved Notch1.

Conclusions: USC-HN1, a novel immortalized cell line has been derived from a maxillary HNSCC. Characterization studies have shown that the cell line is of HNSCC origin and displays many of the same markers previously reported in the literature. USC-HN1 is available for public research and will further the investigation of HNSCC and the development of new therapeutic modalities.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Cell Line, Tumor*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Transplantation, Heterologous