Circulating tumor cells (CTC) in blood are promising new biomarkers potentially useful for prognostic prediction and monitoring of therapies in patients with solid tumors including colon cancer. Moreover, CTC research opens a new avenue for understanding the biology of metastasis in patients with cancer. However, an in-depth investigation of CTCs is hampered by the very low number of these cells, especially in the blood of patients with colorectal cancer. Thus, the establishment of cell cultures and permanent cell lines from CTCs has become the most challenging task over the past year. Here, we describe, for the first time, the establishment of cell cultures and a permanent cell line from CTCs of one patient with colon cancer. The cell line designated CTCMCC-41 has been cultured for more than one year, and the cells have been characterized at the genome, transcriptome, proteome, and secretome levels. This thorough analysis showed that CTCMCC-41 cells resemble characteristics of the original tumor cells in the patient with colon cancer and display a stable phenotype characterized by an intermediate epithelial/mesenchymal phenotype, stem cell-like properties, and an osteomimetic signature, indicating a bone marrow origin. Functional studies showed that CTC-MCC-41 cells induced rapidly in vitro endothelial cell tube formation and in vivo tumors after xenografting in immunodeficient mice. The establishment of this first colon cancer CTC line allows now a wealth of functional studies on the biology of CTCs as well as in vitro and in vivo drug testing.
Cayrefourcq, L., Mazard, T., Joosse, S., Solassol, J., Ramos, J., Assenat, E., … Alix-Panabières, C. (2015). Establishment and characterization of a cell line from human Circulating colon cancer cells. Cancer Research, 75(5), 892–901. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-2613