Characterization of seven human melanoma cell lines: melanogenesis and secretion of plasminogen activators

Br J Cancer. 1986 Aug;54(2):287-95. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1986.175.


Permanent cell lines (UCT-Mel 1 through 7) were established from biopsies of metastatic tissue taken from seven patients with malignant melanoma. Cells from these lines were all aneuploid and all grew as non-contact-inhibited, adherent monolayers. All of the lines, with the remarkable exception of UCT-Mel 6, formed tumours in nude mice, expressed the melanoma M-18 antigen and synthesized plasminogen activators exclusively of the tissue-type. UCT-Mel 6 cells were non tumourigenic, they lacked the M-18 antigen and they synthesized plasminogen activators exclusively of the urokinase type. UCT-Mel 1 and UCT-Mel 2 formed pigment in vitro and both of these lines showed an increase in pigment content and tyrosinase synthesis with increasing cell density. The rate of plasminogen activator released by UCT-Mel 1 and UCT-Mel 3 declined strikingly as the cells became confluent. Assuming that proteolytic activity is required for cell migration in vivo; that tyrosinase synthesis reflects expression of the differentiated phenotype and that melanoma cells retain some of the characteristics of neural crest cells, we suggest that the effects of confluence and close cell-cell contact provide a useful experimental counterpart for the study of normal neural crest all behaviour that is characterized by an inverse relationship between migration and a protease secretion on the one hand and pigmentation on the other.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Count
  • Cell Line
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Melanins / biosynthesis*
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / biosynthesis
  • Plasminogen Activators / metabolism*


  • Melanins
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase
  • Plasminogen Activators