[Bioforum] MDA-MB-435 cells are from melanoma, not from breast cancer (January 7, 2009).

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Wed Jan 7 05:50:21 EST 2009

MDA-MB-435 cells are from melanoma, not from breast cancer.
by Marc Lacroix
InTextoResearch, Baelen (Wallonia), Belgium
in Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology (2009) 63, 567.

MDA-MB-435 cells are frequently used as =93breast cancer cells=94.
Unfortunately, these are melanoma cells (1, 2). The melanocytic nature
of MDA-MB-435 cells was first suspected following micro-array studies,
where these cells were found to cluster with melanoma cells, rather
than with other breast cancer cell lines (3). Afterward, MDA-MB-435
cells were found to express several genes commonly transcribed in
melanocytes, such as RXRG, TYR, ACP5 and DCP, but which are not found
in various commonly used breast cancer cell lines (4) Expression of
melanocyte proteins tyrosinase and melan-A by MDA-MB-435 cells was
also shown (5). MDA-MB-435 cells are in fact derived from the melanoma
cell line M14, as shown by Rae et al.  (6), on the basis of studies
using karyotype, comparative genomic hybridization, and microsatellite
polymorphism analyses, combined with bioinformatics analysis of gene
expression and SNP data. The misidentification is likely to have
occurred prior to 1982 and therefore, nearly all of the existing
literature using the MDA-MB-435 cell line describes the M14 melanoma
cell line, which has been far less studied under its true name.


1) Lacroix M, Leclercq G (2004) Relevance of breast cancer cell lines
as models for breast tumours: an update. Breast Cancer Res Treat

2) Lacroix M (2008) Persistent use of "false" cell lines. Int J Cancer

3) Ross DT, Scherf U, Eisen MB, Perou CM, Rees C, Spellman P, Iyer V,
Jeffrey SS, Van de Rijn M, Waltham M, Pergamenschikov A, Lee JC,
Lashkari D, Shalon D, Myers TG, Weinstein JN, Botstein D, Brown PO
(2000) Systematic variation in gene expression patterns in human
cancer cell lines. Nat Genet 24:227-235

4) Ellison G, Klinowska T, Westwood RF, Docter E, French T, Fox JC
(2002) Further evidence to support the melanocytic origin of MDA-
MB-435. Mol Pathol 55:294-299.

5) Sellappan S, Grijalva R, Zhou X, Yang W, Eli MB, Mills GB, Yu D
(2004) Lineage infidelity of MDA-MB-435 cells: expression of
melanocyte proteins in a breast cancer cell line. Cancer Res

6) Rae JM, Creighton CJ, Meck JM, Haddad BR, Johnson MD (2007) MDA-
MB-435 cells are derived from M14 melanoma cells--a loss for breast
cancer, but a boon for melanoma research. Breast Cancer Res Treat

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