Dynamic heterogeneity: rapid generation of metastatic variants in mouse B16 melanoma cells

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Science  01 Jun 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4652, pp. 998-1001
DOI: 10.1126/science.6719130


The ability of clonally derived lines of B16F1 and B16F10 melanoma cells to form experimental metastases in C57BL mice after intravenous injection was examined. Luria- Delbruck fluctuation analysis was applied to the results obtained with parallel subclones grown to small population sizes before testing for metastatic ability. The analysis demonstrated that variant cells capable of forming experimental metastases were generated in B16F1 cell populations at an effective rate of about 1.3 X 10(-5) per cell per generation while in B16F10 cell populations the effective rate of production was about 5 X 10(-5) per cell per generation. These results are consistent with a dynamic heterogeneity model of tumor progression. They suggest that the majority of cells in both lines are effectively nonmetastatic and that the higher metastatic ability of the B16F10 population may be due in part to a higher rate of generation of metastatic variants.

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