Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences


Growing Human Tumour Cells in Culture

One approach to increasing our understanding of cancer is to grow tumour cells in culture. We have taken the approach of culturing these cells directly from surgical samples to preserve, as much as possible, their original features. We have also grown them under physiological concentrations of oxygen (5%) to minimise oxygen toxicity, and have used these conditions to develop low passage cell lines that can be used for both in-house studies and collaborations with other groups. We have concentrated on melanoma and glioma as sources of these lines, since the incidence of both of these cancer types is high in New Zealand, but have also developed lines from carcinomas. We have then used both short term cultures and on early passage cell lines to study the effects of anticancer drugs. We currently have a collection of over 100 early passage human melanoma lines cell lines, over 50 glioma lines, and over 20 carcinoma lines. One aspect of our work in this area has been to use these lines to understand tumour growth kinetics through the construction of mathematical models.

Some recent publications are shown below.

Burd CE, Liu W, Huynh MV, Waqas MA, Gillahan JE, Clark KS, Fu K, Martin BL, Jeck WA, Souroullas GP, Darr DB, Miley MJ, Baguley BC, Sharpless NE, Mutation-specific RAS oncogenicity explains N-RAS codon 61 selection in melanoma. Cancer Discovery 2014; 4:1418-1429.

Charters GA, Stones CJ, Shelling AN, Baguley BC, Finlay GJ. Centrosomal dysregulation in human metastatic melanoma cell lines. Cancer Genet 2011; 204: 477-485.

Daukste L, Basse B, Baguley BC, Wall DJN. Mathematical determination of cell population doubling times for multiple cell lines. Bull Math Biol 2012; 74: 2510-34.

He S, Li CG, Jeffs A, Glover A, Slobbe L, Ineson J, Marshall ES, Baguley BC, Eccles MR. PAX3 knockdown in metastatic melanoma cell lines does not reduce MITF expression. Melanoma Res 2011; 21: 24-34.

Hung N, Chen YJ, Taha A, Olivecrona M, Boet R, Wiles A, Warr T, Shaw A, Eiholzer R, Baguley BC, Eccles MR, Braithwaite AW, MacFarlane M, Royds JA, Slatter T. Increased paired transcription factor 8 has a survival function in glioma. BMC Cancer 2014; 14: 159.

Kim JE, Finlay GJ, Baguley BC. The role of the Hippo pathway in melanocytes and melanoma. Front Oncol 2013; 3: 123.

Kim JE, Leung E, Baguley BC, Finlay GJ. Heterogeneity of expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers in melanocytes and melanoma cell lines. Front Genet 2013; 4: 97.

Kim JE, Stones C, Leung E, Finlay GJ, Shelling AN, Phillips WA, Shepherd PR, Baguley BC. Effects of PTEN and PIK3CA mutations with BRAF or NRAS mutations on signalling pathways in human melanoma cell lines. BMC Cancer 2012; 12: 141.

Macaulay EC, Roberts HE, Cheng X, Jeffs AR, Baguley BC, Morison IM. Retrotransposon hypomethylation in melanoma permits expression of a placenta-specific gene. PLoS One 2014; 9: e94850.

Stones CS, Kim JE, Leung E, Marshall ES, Joseph WR, Finlay GJ, Shelling AN, Baguley BC. Comparison of responses of melanoma cell lines to the MEK inhibitor CI-1040 and the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib. Front Genet 2013; 4: 66.