Establishment and Characterization of Four Novel Thyroid Cancer Cell Lines and PDX Models Expressing the RET/PTC1 Rearrangement, BRAFV600E, or RASQ61R as Drivers

Mol Cancer Res. 2019 May;17(5):1036-1048. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-1026. Epub 2019 Feb 7.


Cancer cell lines are critical models to study tumor progression and response to therapy. In 2008, we showed that approximately 50% of thyroid cancer cell lines were redundant or not of thyroid cancer origin. We therefore generated new authenticated thyroid cancer cell lines and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models using in vitro and feeder cell approaches, and characterized these models in vitro and in vivo. We developed four thyroid cancer cell lines, two derived from 2 different patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) pleural effusions, CUTC5, and CUTC48; one derived from a patient with anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), CUTC60; and one derived from a patient with follicular thyroid cancer (FTC), CUTC61. One PDX model (CUTC60-PDX) was also developed. Short tandem repeat (STR) genotyping showed that each cell line and PDX is unique and match the original patient tissue. The CUTC5 and CUTC60 cells harbor the BRAF (V600E) mutation, the CUTC48 cell line expresses the RET/PTC1 rearrangement, and the CUTC61 cells have the HRAS (Q61R) mutation. Moderate to high levels of PAX8 and variable levels of NKX2-1 were detected in each cell line and PDX. The CUTC5 and CUTC60 cell lines form tumors in orthotopic and flank xenograft mouse models. IMPLICATIONS: We have developed the second RET/PTC1-expressing PTC-derived cell line in existence, which is a major advance in studying RET signaling. We have further linked all cell lines to the originating patients, providing a set of novel, authenticated thyroid cancer cell lines and PDX models to study advanced thyroid cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics*
  • Thyroid Carcinoma, Anaplastic / genetics
  • Thyroid Carcinoma, Anaplastic / pathology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • ret-PTC fusion oncoproteins, human
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • HRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)

Supplementary concepts

  • Thyroid cancer, follicular