Colorectal carcinoma is a common cause of cancer. Adjuvant treatments include: 5-fluorouracil administered together with folinic acid, or more recently, oral fluoropyrimidines such as capecitabine, in combination with oxaliplatin or irinotecan. Metastatic colorectal cancer patients can benefit from other additional treatments such as cetuximab or bevacizumab.
Using cell culture techniques, we isolated clonal populations from primary cultures of ascitic effusion derived from a colon cancer patient and after several passages an established cell line, HGUE-C-1, was obtained. Genetic analysis of HGUE-C-1 cells was performed by PCR of selected exons and sequencing. Cell proliferation studies were performed by MTT assays and cell cycle analyses were performed by flow cytometry. Retinoblastoma activity was measured by luciferase assays and proteins levels and activity were analysed by Western blot or immunohistochemistry.
We have established a new cell line from ascitic efussion of a colon cancer patient who did not respond to 5-fluorouracil or irinotecan. HGUE-C-1 cells did not show microsatellite instability and did not harbour mutations in KRAS, BRAF, PI3KCA or TP53. However, these cells showed loss of heterozygosity affecting Adenomatous Polyposis Coli and nuclear staining of β-catenin protein. The HGUE-C-1 cell line was sensitive to erlotinib, gefitinib, NVP-BEZ235, rapamycin and trichostatin, among other drugs, but partially resistant to heat shock protein inhibitors and highly resistant to AZD-6244 and oxaliplatin, even though the patient from which this cell line was derived had not been exposed to these drugs. Molecular characterization of this cell line revealed low expression levels and activity of Retinoblastoma protein and elevated basal levels of Erk1/2 activity and p70S6K expression and activity, which may be related to chemoresistance mechanisms.
HGUE-C-1 represents a novel and peculiar colon carcinoma model to study chemoresistance to chemotherapeutic agents and to novel anti-neoplasic drugs that interrupt signalling pathways such as the APC/βcatenin, Ras/Raf/Mek/Erk, PI3K/mTOR/p70S6K pathways as well as histone regulation mechanisms.