From clinical specimens to human cancer preclinical models-a journey the NCI-cell line database-25 years later

J Cell Biochem. 2019 Dec 5;121(8-9):3986-3999. doi: 10.1002/jcb.29564. Online ahead of print.


The intramural the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and more recently the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center with many different collaborators comprised a complex, multi-disciplinary team that collaborated to generated large, comprehensively annotated, cell-line related research resources which includes associated clinical, and molecular characterization data. This material has been shared in an anonymized fashion to accelerate progress in overcoming lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death across the world. However, this cell line collection also includes a range of other cancers derived from patient-donated specimens that have been remarkably valuable for other types of cancer and disease research. A comprehensive analysis conducted by the NCI Center for Research Strategy of the 278 cell lines reported in the original Journal of Cellular Biochemistry Supplement, documents that these cell lines and related products have since been used in more than 14 000 grants, and 33 207 published scientific reports. This has resulted in over 1.2 million citations using at least one cell line. Many publications involve the use of more than one cell line, to understand the value of the resource collectively rather than individually; this method has resulted in 2.9 million citations. In addition, these cell lines have been linked to 422 clinical trials and cited by 4700 patents through publications. For lung cancer alone, the cell lines have been used in the research cited in the development of over 70 National Comprehensive Cancer Network clinical guidelines. Finally, it must be underscored again, that patient altruism enabled the availability of this invaluable research resource.

Keywords: adult T-cell Leukemia-lymphoma; cell lines; human cancer preclinical models; lung cancer; mesothelioma; patient donated specimens; precision medicine.