Improved technique for establishing short term human brain tumor cultures

Maxine A. Farr-Jones, Ian F. Parney, Kenneth C. Petruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Culturing human central nervous system tumors has been difficult compared to other neoplasms. We report improved success rates for establishing short term human brain tumor cultures using a modified tissue processing technique. Eighty-seven brain tumor specimens (56 glioblastomas, 8 mid grade astrocytomas, 8 oligodendrogliomas, 15 other) were obtained from June 1988 to March 1997. The first twenty-three samples were processed by dissection, partial enzyme dissociation, and filtration through a tissue culture sieve. Subsequent samples were processed identically except tumor cells were centrifuged on a density gradient prior to plating. Successful cultures were defined as those surviving greater than three passages in tissue culture and growing to sufficient numbers (> 106 cells) to allow freezing. Success rate was 42% (10/23) using standard processing methods and 86% (55/64) with the addition of density gradient centrifugation. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin staining, karyotypes, and growth curves were obtained for representative glioma cultures. All cultures tested were positive for vimentin (29/29) while 62% (18/29) were positive for GFAP. Of four cultures karyotyped (two glioblastomas, two oligodendrogliomas), all but one oligodendroglioma culture exhibited clonal cytogenetic abnormalities. These immunohistochemical and karyotypic results are consistent with the malignant glial origin of these cells. Of note, low passage human glioma cultures grew slower and exhibited more contact inhibition than immortalized human glioblastoma cell lines. Nevertheless, this simple method for establishing short term human brain tumor cultures should aid in further developing human brain tumor pre-clinical models as well as enhancing clinical applications dependent on in vitro human brain tumor cell growth adjust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Brain tumor
  • GFAP
  • Glioma
  • Karyotype
  • Tissue culture
  • Vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Improved technique for establishing short term human brain tumor cultures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this