, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 131-136

Chemosensitivity testing of primary human renal cell carcinoma by a tetrazolium based microculture assay (MTT)

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MTT staining procedures have been used in chemosensitivity testing of established cell lines of human and other sources as well as of human leukaemias, but only limited information on its application in primary solid human tumors is presently available. We have evaluated MTT staining in primary human Renal Cell Carcinomas (RCCs), studied various factors interfering with the optimal use, and finally applied it in subsequent chemosensitivity testing. The method depends on the conversion of a water-soluble tetrazolium salt (MTT) to a purple colored formazan precipitate, a reaction effected by enzymes active only in living cells. Single cell suspensions of RCCs were obtained either by enzymatic dispersion or by mechanical dissagregation, filtered through gauze, and purified by Ficoll density centrifugation. Tests were carried out in 96-well microculture plates. 104 viable tumor cells per well at 4 h incubation time with 20 μg MTT/100 μl total medium volume yielded best results. Formazan crystals were dissolved with DMSO, and the plates were immediately measured on a microculture plate reader at 540 nm. Under these criteria, linearity of the system could be demonstrated. For chemosensitivity testing, cells were continuously exposed to a number of drugs prior to the MTT staining procedure. Reproducibility of results was assessed and confirmed by culturing RCCs in flasks additionally, resubmitting them after 1, 2, and 4 weeks to the MTT assay. We conclude that the semiautomated MTT assay offers a valid, rapid, reliable and simple method to determine the degree of chemoresistance in primary human RCCs.