Letter | Published:

Characterisation of human cells transformed in vitro by urethane

Naturevolume 256pages322324 (1975) | Download Citation



CELLS derived from several animal species, including mouse1,2, hamster3 and rat4, have been transformed in vitro from the normal to the malignant state by diverse chemical carcinogens. In similar conditions, however, attempts to transform human cells have usually been unsuccessful and as far as we know, such transformation has been reported only once5. This was a case of two cell lines treated with urethane, obtained from siblings with von Recklinghausen's disease, a familial disorder transmitted by an autosomal dominant gene, and characterised by multiple fibromas with a high predisposition to malignant transformation in vivo6. Although morphologically altered foci of transformed cells were reported, there was the possibility that a few tumour cells in the original population had been selected for by urethane. Therefore we characterised in detail the urethane-treated and untreated cultures. We have found that human cells can indeed be chemically transformed in vitro.

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  1. Division of Hematology–Oncology, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, and University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California, 90027

    • , PETER A. JONES
    •  & WALTER E. LAUG
  2. The Children's Hospital, Buchtel Avenue and Bowery Street, Akron, Ohio, 44308



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