In vivo tumor growth of high-grade serous ovarian cancer cell lines

Gynecol Oncol. 2015 Aug;138(2):372-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2015.05.040. Epub 2015 Jun 5.


Objective: Genomic studies of ovarian cancer (OC) cell lines frequently used in research revealed that these cells do not fully represent high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC), the most common OC histologic type. However, OC lines that appear to genomically resemble HGSOC have not been extensively used and their growth characteristics in murine xenografts are essentially unknown.

Methods: To better understand growth patterns and characteristics of HGSOC cell lines in vivo, CAOV3, COV362, KURAMOCHI, NIH-OVCAR3, OVCAR4, OVCAR5, OVCAR8, OVSAHO, OVKATE, SNU119 and UWB1.289 cells were assessed for tumor formation in nude mice. Cells were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) or subcutaneously (s.c.) in female athymic nude mice and allowed to grow (maximum of 90 days) and tumor formation was analyzed. All tumors were sectioned and assessed using H&E staining and immunohistochemistry for p53, PAX8 and WT1 expression.

Results: Six lines (OVCAR3, OVCAR4, OVCAR5, OVCAR8, CAOV3, and OVSAHO) formed i.p xenografts with HGSOC histology. OVKATE and COV362 formed s.c. tumors only. Rapid tumor formation was observed for OVCAR3, OVCAR5 and OVCAR8, but only OVCAR8 reliably formed ascites. Tumors derived from OVCAR3, OVCAR4, and OVKATE displayed papillary features. Of the 11 lines examined, three (Kuramochi, SNU119 and UWB1.289) were non-tumorigenic.

Conclusions: Our findings help further define which HGSOC cell models reliably generate tumors and/or ascites, critical information for preclinical drug development, validating in vitro findings, imaging and prevention studies by the OC research community.

Keywords: High grade serous ovarian cancer; Mouse model; Pax8; Xenograft.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Growth Processes
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / metabolism
  • Cystadenocarcinoma, Serous / pathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • PAX8 Transcription Factor
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis
  • WT1 Proteins / biosynthesis


  • PAX8 Transcription Factor
  • PAX8 protein, human
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • WT1 Proteins
  • WT1 protein, human