In vitro characterization of cells derived from chordoma cell line U-CH1 following treatment with X-rays, heavy ions and chemotherapeutic drugs

Radiat Oncol. 2011 Sep 14;6:116. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-6-116.


Background: Chordoma, a rare cancer, is usually treated with surgery and/or radiation. However, very limited characterizations of chordoma cells are available due to a minimal availability (only two lines validated by now) and the extremely long doubling time. In order to overcome this situation, we successfully derived a cell line with a shorter doubling time from the first validated chordoma line U-CH1 and obtained invaluable cell biological data.

Method: After isolating a subpopulation of U-CH1 cells with a short doubling time (U-CH1-N), cell growth, cell cycle distribution, DNA content, chromosome number, p53 status, and cell survival were examined after exposure to X-rays, heavy ions, camptothecin, mitomycin C, cisplatin and bleocin. These data were compared with those of HeLa (cervical cancer) and U87-MG (glioblastoma) cells.

Results: The cell doubling times for HeLa, U87-MG and U-CH1-N were approximately 18 h, 24 h and 3 days respectively. Heavy ion irradiation resulted in more efficient cell killing than x-rays in all three cell lines. Relative biological effectiveness (RBE) at 10% survival for U-CH1-N was about 2.45 for 70 keV/μm carbon and 3.86 for 200 keV/μm iron ions. Of the four chemicals, bleocin showed the most marked cytotoxic effect on U-CH1-N.

Conclusion: Our data provide the first comprehensive cellular characterization using cells of chordoma origin and furnish the biological basis for successful clinical results of chordoma treatment by heavy ions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chordoma / drug therapy*
  • Chordoma / radiotherapy*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Karyotyping
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis
  • X-Rays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53