Establishment from a human chondrosarcoma of a new immortal cell line with high tumorigenicity in vivo, which is able to form proteoglycan‐rich cartilage‐like nodules and to respond to insulin in vitro

Masaharu Takigawa, Hai‐Ou ‐O Pan, Akihiro Kinoshita, Koji Tajima, Yoshiro Takano

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The human chondrosarcoma cell line (HCS‐2/8) established by our group expresses cartilage phenotypes such as production of cartilage‐type proteoglycans and collagen type II, but its tumorigenicity is low. To develop an in vitro experimental system for studies of human chondrosarcomas, a new immortal cell line of human chondrosarcoma, named HCS‐2/A, was established from the same tumor. HCS‐2/A cells proliferated with a doubling time of 3° days in a medium containing 20% fetal bovine serum (FBS). This growth rate was comparable to that of HCS‐2/8 cells. However, HCS‐2/A cells proliferated more rapidly than HCS‐2/8 cells in the presence of 2–10% FBS. Like HCS‐2/8 cells, HCS‐2/A cells had a polygonal shape in sparse cultures and became spherical as they reached confluence, after which they formed nodules composed of multi‐layered cells and a large quantity of extracellular matrix showing strong metachromasia. The nodules formed by HCS‐2/A cells were thicker and also larger in diameter than those formed by HCS‐2/8 cells. Electron microscopically, the cells in the nodules resembled chondrocytes in vivo, but each cell had an irregular‐shaped nucleus which is a characteristic of tumor cells. The cells actively synthesized “cartilage‐specific” large proteoglycans and their level of proteoglycan synthesis was comparable to that of HCS‐2/8 cells. Insulin, which stimulates proteoglycan and DNA syntheses in cultured chondrocytes, markedly Increased proteoglycan synthesis in HCS‐2/A cells. On the other hand, the hormone only slightly increased proteoglycan synthesis in HCS‐2/8 cells. Insulin also stimulated DNA synthesis in cultured HCS‐2/A cells, but not in HCS‐2/8 cells. Immunostaining revealed that HCS‐2/A cells produced type‐11 collagen but not type‐1 collagen. However, the level of collagen synthesis of HCS‐2/A cells was lower than that of HCS‐2/8 cells. Inoculation of HCS‐2/A cells into athymic mice resulted in the formation of chondrosarcomas that grew faster than those arising from HCS‐2/8 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-725
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 9 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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