Metabolic Gradients in Tissue Culture Studies of Human Cancer Cells

  • Joseph Leighton
  • Ruy Tchao


When cancer is first identified in a person, we find on histopathological evaluation that the new growth appears as a tissue organized in characteristic multilayered arrangements of cells. Inevitably, those tumor cells in immediate intimate association with the circulation of the host, as represented by the blood vessels in the tumor, are in a different metabolic status than are tumor cells many cell diameters away from the blood vessels. As a specific expression of this gradient, the observations of Tannock (1968) are appropriate. He found in a transplantable mammary carcinoma that tumor cells in close proximity to blood vessels had a high index of tritiated thymidine incorporation, whereas a few cell diameters away from the vessels labeling was much less. A common observation of diagnostic histopathology is that tumor cells close to vessels are clearly viable while in the same microscopic field the tumor cells most distant from the same vessels are necrotic. Several factors contribute to these conditions, including pO2, pCO2, pH, and the concentrations of essential metabolites and cell products. The situation is extremely complex; these factors are interrelated and yet each may have unique effects on the system.


Urinary Bladder Chondroitin Sulfate Viable Tumor Cell Organotypic Culture Tissue Culture Study 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Leighton
    • 1
  • Ruy Tchao
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Bioassay Laboratory, Department of PathologyThe Medical College of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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