Establishment and characterization of two nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines

Lab Invest. 1990 Jun;62(6):713-24.


Two human nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cell lines have been established. One derived from a 64-year-old male, and the other from a 36-year-old female Chinese patient living in Taiwan. Both were keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma in nature and designated as NPC-TW039 and NPC-TW076. Both have been grown in culture system for more than 100 passages. Single cells from both cell lines could form colonies in 0.3% soft agar. In the nude mouse transplantation experiment, both cell lines could produce tumor mass with metastasis. The karyotypic analysis showed multiple chromosomal abnormality. The number of chromosomes ranged between 76 to 109 and 80 to 105 with an average of 98 and 95, respectively. The doubling time was 10.5 hours and 10.8 hours, respectively. The NPC-TW039 cell line has been subcloned and three subclones have been obtained. Ultrastructural studies from those two cell line, three subcloned cell lines and two transplanted tumor masses, all showed two types of morphology: the dark and light cells. This morphologic difference is probably derived from the different metabolic state, but not due to an artifact. Three oncogene probes have been used to check the oncogene expression; none of those five cell lines is positive. Similarly, six Epstein-Barr virus fragments have been labeled to hybridize with NPC cellular DNA preparations, results from the Southern blotting showed no detectable Epstein-Barr virus DNA sequence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Cell Line*
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Oncogenes


  • DNA, Viral