A rapid in vitro assay for quantitating the invasive potential of tumor cells

A. Albini, Y. Iwamoto, H. K. Kleinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have reconstituted a matrix of basement membrane onto a filter in a Boyden chamber and assessed the ability of various malignant and nonmalignant cells to penetrate through the coated filter. Cells from all the malignant cell lines tested were able to cross the matrix in 5-6 h, whereas human fibroblasts as well as mouse 3T3 and 10T 1/2 cell lines, which are not tumorigenic, were not invasive. In addition, normal primary prostate epithelial cells and benign prostatic hyperplasia cells were not invasive when tested in this assay, whereas malignant prostate carcinoma cells were highly invasive. Parallel experiments with these prostatic cells using the intrasplenic assay for metastasis detection in the nude mouse confirmed the benign behavior of the former cells and the metastatic phenotype of the latter ones. These results suggest that this in vitro test allows the rapid and quantitative assessment of invasiveness and a means to screen for drugs which alter the invasive phenotype of tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3239-3245
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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