Bioassays for Anticancer Activities

  • Janice McCauley
  • Ana Zivanovic
  • Danielle Skropeta
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1055)


The MTT/MTS in vitro cell proliferation assay is one of the most widely used assays for evaluating preliminary anticancer activity of both synthetic derivatives and natural products and natural product extracts. The highly reliable, colorimetric based assay is readily performed on a wide range of cell lines. This assay gives an indication of whole cell cytotoxicity; however, to determine the exact molecular target further assays need to be performed. Of these, kinase inhibition assays are also one of the most widespread enzyme inhibition screening assays performed. Kinases are enzymes that play a key role in a number of physiological processes and their inhibitors have been found to exhibit anticancer activity against various human cancer cell lines. Herein, we describe the methods for performing both in vitro MTT/MTS cytotoxicity and kinase enzyme inhibition assays. These are two of the most useful anticancer screening techniques available that are relatively economical and can be easily and routinely performed in the laboratory to characterize anticancer activity. Both assays are highly versatile and can be modified to test against targeted disease processes by using specific kinase enzymes or cell lines.

Key words

MTS/MTT assays Cytotoxicity Anticancer activity Human cancer cell lines Enzyme inhibition Kinases 



This work was supported by the Center of Medicinal Chemistry and the School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janice McCauley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ana Zivanovic
    • 1
    • 3
  • Danielle Skropeta
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.School of ChemistryUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Shoalhaven Marine and Freshwater Centre, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for Medicinal ChemistryUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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