For decades, hundreds of different human tumor type-specific cell lines have been used in experimental cancer research as models for their respective tumors. The veracity of experimental results for a specific tumor type relies on the correct derivation of the cell line. In a worldwide effort, we verified the authenticity of all available esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) cell lines. We proved that the frequently used cell lines SEG-1 and BIC-1 and the SK-GT-5 cell line are in fact cell lines from other tumor types. Experimental results based on these contaminated cell lines have led to ongoing clinical trials recruiting EAC patients, to more than 100 scientific publications, and to at least three National Institutes of Health cancer research grants and 11 US patents, which emphasizes the importance of our findings. Widespread use of contaminated cell lines threatens the development of treatment strategies for EAC.

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Journal National Cancer Institute. Journal (Print)
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Boonstra, J.J, van Marion, R, Beer, D.G, Lin, L, Chaves, P, Ribeiro, C, … Dinjens, W.N.M. (2010). Verification and unmasking of widely used human esophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines. National Cancer Institute. Journal (Print), 102(4), 271–274. doi:10.1093/jnci/djp499