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Primary cell cultures from anaplastic thyroid cancer obtained by fine-needle aspiration used for chemosensitivity tests

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Summary Objective 

Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is often inoperable and chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the main treatments. Until now, ‘primary ATC cell cultures’ (ANA) have been developed from surgical biopsies. We investigated the possibility of obtaining ANA from fine-needle aspiration (FNA-ANA) and testing their sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents, which could enable treatments to be more effective and avoid unnecessary surgical procedures. Design and patients 

The aim of this study was to obtain FNA-ANA from three ATC patients and to evaluate the chemosensitivity of FNA-ANA to chemotherapeutic agents. Measurements and results 

FNA-ANA from ATC patients were cultured in RPMI 1640 and propagated in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM). Chemosensitivity was evaluated by inhibiting the proliferation (analysing the number of viable cells by the cleavage of tetrazolium salts), by increasing the concentration of four different chemotherapeutic agents: bleomycin, cisplatin, gemcitabine and etoposide. The chemotherapeutic agents significantly inhibited (> 50%) FNA-ANA proliferation. Another ANA for each patient was obtained from a surgical biopsy specimen; the results for the chemosensitivity tests were similar to those obtained using FNA-ANA. Conclusions 

Our study demonstrates the possibility of obtaining FNA-ANA, and opens the way to the use of FNA-ANA as a means of testing the chemosensitivity to different chemotherapeutic agents (and possibly the radiosensitivity) in each patient, avoiding unnecessary surgical procedures and the administration of inactive chemotherapeutics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Internal Medicine and 2: Surgery, University of Pisa and 3: Section of Cytopathology, Division of Surgical, Molecular and Ultrastructural Pathology, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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