Establishment and characterization of a novel hepatoblastoma-derived cell line
Hepatoblastoma is the most common pediatric liver cancer, and complete resection is required for long-term survival. There are few reported hepatoblastoma cell lines available for study. In order to develop in vitro and animal models, the authors isolated an additional cell line (HB1) from a human hepatoblastoma and here report its characteristics in culture. Cells were analyzed for growth rate, clonigenicity, and tumorigenicity, using electron microscopy. Immunocytochemistry and Northern analysis for the expression of specific surface markers and genes of interest were also performed. HB1 cells required fetal calf serum but grew well in culture (population doubling time of 2 days) and had an undifferentiated appearance under electron microscopy. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and hydrocortisone stimulated growth with or without serum, but not autocrine growth stimulation via the epidermal growth factor receptor was detected. Proteins produced by HB1 cells under normal culture conditions included alpha-fetoprotein, cytokeratins 8 and 18, and lactate dehydrogenase (with an isozyme subunit composition similar to that of liver). HB1 cells showed chronic, high expression of c-myc and Ha-ras oncogenes but no N-myc and apparently normal RB gene expression. This cell line shows characteristics in culture consistent with malignant, hepatic epithelial cells and is apparently EGF dependent. It may provide a model system for the future development of alternative therapies.