Establishment of a mammary carcinoma cell line from Syrian hamsters treated with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea

Malari A. Coburn, Sabrina Brueggemann, Shilpa Bhatia, Bing Cheng, Benjamin D.L. Li, Xiao Lin Li, Natalia Luraguiz, Yulia Y. Maxuitenko, Elysse A. Orchard, Songlin Zhang, Mariam A. Stoff-Khalili, J. Michael Mathis, Heather E. Kleiner-Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Clearly new breast cancer models are necessary in developing novel therapies. To address this challenge, we examined mammary tumor formation in the Syrian hamster using the chemical carcinogen N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU). A single 50 mg/kg intraperitoneal dose of MNU resulted in a 60% incidence of premalignant mammary lesions, and a 20% incidence of mammary adenocarcinomas. Two cell lines, HMAM4A and HMAM4B, were derived from one of the primary mammary tumors induced by MNU. The morphology of the primary tumor was similar to a high-grade poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma in human breast cancer. The primary tumor stained positively for both HER-2/neu and pancytokeratin, and negatively for both cytokeratin 5/6 and p63. When the HMAM4B cell line was implanted subcutaneously into syngeneic female hamsters, tumors grew at a take rate of 50%. A tumor derived from HMAM4B cells implanted into a syngeneic hamster was further propagated in vitro as a stable cell line HMAM5. The HMAM5 cells grew in female syngeneic hamsters with a 70% take rate of tumor formation. These cells proliferate in vitro, form colonies in soft agar, and are aneuploid with a modal chromosomal number of 74 (the normal chromosome number for Syrian hamster is 44). To determine responsiveness to the estrogen receptor (ER), a cell proliferation assay was examined using increasing concentrations of tamoxifen. Both HMAM5 and human MCF-7 (ER positive) cells showed a similar decrease at 24 h. However, MDA-MB-231 (ER negative) cells were relatively insensitive to any decrease in proliferation from tamoxifen treatment. These results suggest that the HMAM5 cell line was likely derived from a luminal B subtype of mammary tumor. These results also represent characterization of the first mammary tumor cell line available from the Syrian hamster. The HMAM5 cell line is likely to be useful as an immunocompetent model for human breast cancer in developing novel therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2011


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Breast cancer
  • HMAM5 cell line
  • MNU
  • Mammary tumor
  • N-methyl-N-nitrosourea
  • Syrian hamster


Dive into the research topics of 'Establishment of a mammary carcinoma cell line from Syrian hamsters treated with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this