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Establishment and characterization of two human breast carcinoma cell lines by spontaneous immortalization: Discordance between Estrogen, Progesterone and HER2/neu receptors of breast carcinoma tissues with derived cell lines

Behnam Kamalidehghan12, Massoud Houshmand34, Fereydoun Kamalidehghan5, Narges Jafarzadeh1, Shahram Azari67, Sharifah Noor Akmal8 and Rozita Rosli19*

Author Affiliations

1 Genetic Medicine Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia UPM Serdang, Selangor, 43400, Malaysia

2 Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 Department of Medical Genetics, National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NIGEB), Tehran, Iran

4 Genetics Department, Special Medical Center, Tehran, Iran

5 Pazhohan Teb Co Ltd, Karaj, Tehran, Iran

6 National Cell Bank of Iran, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

7 Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Advanced Technology of Medical Sciences, Golestan University of Medical Science, Gorgan, Iran

8 Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Yaacob Latif Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, 56000, Malaysia

9 UPM-MAKNA Cancer Research Laboratory, Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia UPM Serdang, Selangor, 43400, Malaysia

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Cancer Cell International 2012, 12:43  doi:10.1186/1475-2867-12-43

Published: 29 October 2012



Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women throughout the world. Therefore, established cell lines are widely used as in vitro experimental models in cancer research.


Two continuous human breast cell lines, designated MBC1 and MBC2, were successfully established and characterized from invasive ductal breast carcinoma tissues of Malaysian patients. MBC1 and MBC2 have been characterized in terms of morphology analysis, population doubling time, clonogenic formation, wound healing assay, invasion assay, cell cycle, DNA profiling, fluorescence immunocytochemistry, Western blotting and karyotyping.


MBC1 and MBC2 exhibited adherent monolayer epithelial morphology at a passage number of 150. Receptor status of MBC1 and MBC2 show (ER+, PR+, HER2+) and (ER+, PR-, HER2+), respectively. These results are in discordance with histopathological studies of the tumoral tissues, which were triple negative and (ER-, PR-, HER2+) for MBC1 and MBC2, respectively. Both cell lines were capable of growing in soft agar culture, which suggests their metastatic potential. The MBC1 and MBC2 metaphase spreads showed an abnormal karyotype, including hyperdiploidy and complex rearrangements with modes of 52–58 chromosomes per cell.


Loss or gain in secondary properties, deregulation and specific genetic changes possibly conferred receptor changes during the culturing of tumoral cells. Thus, we hypothesize that, among heterogenous tumoral cells, only a small minority of ER+/PR+/HER2+ and ER+/PR-/HER2+ cells with lower energy metabolism might survive and adjust easily to in vitro conditions. These cell lines will pave the way for new perspectives in genetic and biological investigations, drug resistance and chemotherapy studies, and would serve as prototype models in Malaysian breast carcinogenesis investigations.

Malaysian breast cell lines; Estrogen (ER); Progesterone (PR) and HER2/neu; Clonogenic assay; Invasive ductal breast carcinoma tissues; DNA profiling