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A Rapid in Vitro Assay for Quantitating the Invasive Potential of Tumor Cells

We have reconstituted a matrix of basement membrane onto a filter in
a Boyden chamber and assessed the ability of various malignant and
nonmalignant cells to penetrate through the coated filter. Cells from all
the malignant cell lines tested were able to cross the matrix in 5-6 h,
whereas human fibroblasts as well as mouse 3T3 and lOT’/i cell lines,
which are not tumorigenic, were not invasive. In addition, normal primary
prostate epithelial cells and benign prostatic hyperplasia cells were not
invasive when tested in this assay, whereas malignant prostate carcinoma
cells were highly invasive. Parallel experiments with these prostatic cells
using the intrasplenic assay for metastasis detection in the nude mouse
confirmed the benign behavior of the former cells and the metastatic
phenotype of the latter ones. These results suggest that this in vitro test
allows the rapid and quantitative assessment of invasiveness and a means
to screen for drugs which alter the invasive phenotype of tumor cells.

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Note: do not autoclave acrylic chambers as this article recommends.