Characterization of a human ovarian carcinoma cell line (NIH:OVCAR-3) with androgen and estrogen receptors

Cancer Res. 1983 Nov;43(11):5379-89.


A cell line, NIH:OVCAR-3, has been established from the malignant ascites of a patient with progressive adenocarcinoma of the ovary after combination chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin, and cisplatin. OVCAR-3 grows as a cobblestone-like monolayer with foci of multilayering, is tumorigenic in athymic mice, clones in agarose, and has an abnormal karyotype which includes a homogeneous staining region and a double minute chromosome. The cultured cells and xenografts contain cytoplasmic androgen- and estrogen-binding macromolecules with the specificity of the respective steroid hormone receptors. These components have sedimentation coefficients of 7 to 9S in low-salt sucrose-density gradients, have dissociation constants of 250 and 9.6 pM, and are present at concentrations of 30 and 28 fmol/mg cytosol protein characteristic of androgen and estrogen receptors, respectively. OVCAR-3 is resistant in vitro to clinically relevant concentrations of Adriamycin (5 X 10(-8) M), melphalan (5 X 10(-6) M), and cisplatin (5 X 10(-7) M) with survival compared to untreated controls of 43, 45, and 77%, respectively. Furthermore, there are multiple histological similarities between the patient's original tumor, the cell line, and the transplantable tumor. These data indicate that OVCAR-3 may be of use for investigations as to the significance of androgens and estrogens and the mechanisms of cytotoxic drug resistance in ovarian cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cisplatin / toxicity
  • Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Doxorubicin / toxicity
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estrenes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Melphalan / toxicity
  • Metribolone
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Steroid / metabolism*


  • Estrenes
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Metribolone
  • Estradiol
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cisplatin
  • Melphalan