Glioma cells showing IDH1 mutation cannot be propagated in standard cell culture conditions

Br J Cancer. 2011 Mar 15;104(6):968-70. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.27. Epub 2011 Feb 15.


Background: It has recently been reported by several sources that original (i.e., present in vivo) glioma cell phenotypes or genotypes cannot be maintained in vitro. For example, glioblastoma cell lines presenting EGFR amplification cannot be established.

Methods and results: IDH1 sequencing and loss of heterozygosity analysis was performed for 15 surgery samples of astrocytoma and early and late passages of cells derived from those and for 11 archival samples. We were not able to culture tumour cells presenting IDH1 mutations originating from currently proceeded 10 tumours; the same results were observed in 7 samples of archival material.

Conclusion: The IDH1 mutation is expected to be almost mutually exclusive with EGFR amplification, so glioma cells with IDH1 mutations seem to represent a new group of tumour cells, which cannot be readily analysed in vitro because of their elimination. The reasons for this intriguing phenomenon should be investigated since its understanding can help to define a new therapeutic approach based on simulating in vivo conditions, responsible for tumour cells elimination in vitro. Moreover, a new model for culturing glioma cells in vitro should be designed since the current one does not provide conditions corresponding to in vivo growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Culture Techniques / standards
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Freezing
  • Genes, erbB-1
  • Glioma / genetics*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Tissue Preservation / methods
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase
  • IDH1 protein, human