Assembly and initial characterization of a panel of 85 genomically validated cell lines from diverse head and neck tumor sites

Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Dec 1;17(23):7248-64. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0690. Epub 2011 Aug 25.


Purpose: Human cell lines are useful for studying cancer biology and preclinically modeling cancer therapy, but can be misidentified and cross-contamination is unfortunately common. The purpose of this study was to develop a panel of validated head and neck cell lines representing the spectrum of tissue sites and histologies that could be used for studying the molecular, genetic, and phenotypic diversity of head and neck cancer.

Methods: A panel of 122 clinically and phenotypically diverse head and neck cell lines from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, thyroid cancer, cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, oral leukoplakia, immortalized primary keratinocytes, and normal epithelium was assembled from the collections of several individuals and institutions. Authenticity was verified by carrying out short tandem repeat analysis. Human papillomavirus (HPV) status and cell morphology were also determined.

Results: Eighty-five of the 122 cell lines had unique genetic profiles. HPV-16 DNA was detected in 2 cell lines. These 85 cell lines included cell lines from the major head and neck primary tumor sites, and close examination shows a wide range of in vitro phenotypes.

Conclusions: This panel of 85 genomically validated head and neck cell lines represents a valuable resource for the head and neck cancer research community that can help advance understanding of the disease by providing a standard reference for cell lines that can be used for biological as well as preclinical studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alphapapillomavirus / genetics
  • Alphapapillomavirus / isolation & purification
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / genetics
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Line, Tumor*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Leukoplakia, Oral / genetics
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics


  • DNA, Viral