Cancer cell lines are useful model systems for medical research

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Cell lines are in vitro model systems that are widely used in different fields of medical research, especially basic cancer research and drug discovery. Their usefulness is primarily linked to their ability to provide an indefinite source of biological material for experimental purposes. Under the right conditions and with appropriate controls, authenticated cancer cell lines retain most of the genetic properties of the cancer of origin. During the last few years, comparing genomic data of most cancer cell lines has corroborated this statement and those that were observed studying the tumoral tissue equivalents included in the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. We are at the disposal of comprehensive open access cell line datasets describing their molecular and cellular alterations at an unprecedented level of accuracy. This aspect, in association with the possibility of setting up accurate culture conditions that mimic the in vivo microenvironment (e.g., three-dimensional (3D) coculture), has strengthened the importance of cancer cell lines for continuing to sustain medical research fields. However, it is important to consider that the appropriate use of cell lines needs to follow established guidelines for guaranteed data reproducibility and quality, and to prevent the occurrence of detrimental events (i.e., those that are linked to cross-contamination and mycoplasma contamination).

Original languageEnglish
Article number1098
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Biological samples
  • Cell lines
  • Leukemia
  • Medical research
  • Solid cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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