Serum-free growth of adult human prostatic epithelial cells

In Vitro Cell Dev Biol. 1986 Feb;22(2):82-90. doi: 10.1007/BF02623537.


Proliferation of adult human prostatic epithelial cells in serum-free medium occurs upon the addition of cholera toxin, epidermal growth factor, pituitary extract, and hydrocortisone to basal medium PFMR-4A. Insulin and selenium enhance proliferation and permit growth at lower cell densities. Reducing the level of calcium in the medium dramatically alters morphology and also seems to increase proliferation. Mortal strains of cells derived from normal central or peripheral zone, benign hyperplasia, or cancer respond similarly to growth factors and calcium, but two populations of cancer cells which have been long-lived and may be immortal lines behave differently. GKC-CA cells require serum proteins or high levels of pituitary extract for optimal growth, and neither GKC-CA cells or cells of another cancer line, WB-CA, proliferate well in medium containing reduced levels of calcium. These observations may, however, be a reflection of attachment phenomena rather than of growth responses per se. Growth of cells in serum-free medium has allowed definitive studies of the effects of androgens, and regardless of cell type no response to androgens of prostate epithelial cells under any experimental conditions has been seen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Androgens / pharmacology
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Pituitary Gland / physiology
  • Prostate / cytology*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • Androgens
  • Culture Media
  • Growth Substances
  • Insulin
  • Calcium