Effect of culture conditions on the chemosensitivity of ovarian cancer cell lines

Augusta Fernando, Sharon Glaysher, Mark Conroy, Marcin Pekalski, Jason Smith, Louise A. Knight, Federica Di Nicolantonio, Ian A. Cree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to define the chemosensitivity profile of a series of human ovarian cancer cell lines representing the human primary ovarian tumours under altered culture conditions and to compare the results with those from tumour-derived cells. In this study, we used a standardized ATP-based tumour chemosensitivity assay to measure the activity of cytotoxics in the seven ovarian carcinoma cell lines and ovarian tumour-derived cells. The use of adherence-free polypropylene plates and a serum-free medium slowed down cell proliferation in all cell lines tested, mimicking the slow growth rate of solid tumours in this type of plastic. The seeding density was optimized for each cell line and was in the range of 2000-4000 cells/well. Heterogenous sensitivity to different cytotoxics was observed in the seven ovarian cancer cell lines tested in the ATP-based tumour chemosensitivity assay. The human ovarian carcinoma cell line, OVCA433, was found to be the most resistant cell line and 75% of the drugs showed an IndexSUM above 300. Our results suggest that the use of appropriate culture conditions i.e. a serum-free culture environment, adherence-free growth and optimum seeding density can induce cell lines to behave more like tumour-derived cells in response to cytotoxic agents. On the basis of the comparison of chemosensitivity profiles of tumour-derived cells and cell lines derived from the corresponding tumour, a panel of cell lines can be selected. Such a panel could be used to screen and develop anticancer drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)913-919
Number of pages7
JournalAnti-Cancer Drugs
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


  • Chemosensitivity
  • Ovarian cancer cell lines
  • Serum-free culture conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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