Date added: 24/11/2017 MDA-MB-435 Mystery Solved Using 40 Year Old Samples


MDA-MB-435 Mystery Solved Using 40 Year Old Samples

M14 Cells

MDA-MB-435 is widely used as a model for breast cancer. But is it actually breast cancer, or does it come from melanoma instead?

MDA-MB-435 and melanoma cell line M14 share a common donor origin, resulting in a fierce debate over the origins of these two cell lines.

Although most data are consistent with MDA-MB-435 being misidentified, the cell line can express breast-specific markers. MDA-MB-435 also has an XX karyotype, consistent with its reported origin from a female with breast cancer.

This mystery is now solved following a two-year investigation involving members of the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC).

With the assistance of the John Wayne Cancer Institute Specimen Repository, ICLAC uncovered 40 year old samples from the donor of the M14 melanoma cell line.

DNA from M14, a second cell line from the same donor, and the donor’s serum showed that MDA-MB-435 does indeed come from a patient with melanoma.

The second cell line from this donor had an XY karyotype, showing how difficult it can be to determine male or female origin in cell lines, where rearrangements can result in loss of the Y and duplication of the X chromosome.

The full story and data are published in the International Journal of Cancer.


Image: M14 cells, Korch C et al.