Growth and characterization of LNCaP prostate cancer cell spheroids

Åse M. Ballangrud, Wei Hong Yang, Ann Dnistrian, Nina M. Lampen, George Sgouros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Cells from the prostate tumor cell line LNCaP have been grown as spheroids. The growth kinetics of the spheroids have been characterized by fitting a Gompertz equation to spheroid growth curves. The proliferation state of cells within spheroids of different diameters was assessed by bromodeoxyuridine staining. Scanning and electron transmission microscopy were performed to determine the ultrastructure of the spheroids. Prostate- specific antigen (PSA) secretion was monitored throughout spheroid growth. Consistent with Gompertzian kinetics, the volume of LNCaP spheroids initially increased exponentially and then reached a plateau. The doubling time during the exponential phase was 29 ± 4 h. A core of nonproliferating cells was seen in spheroids with a diameter of 400 μm; at a diameter of 600 μm, a necrotic core had formed. In smaller, 200-μm diameter spheroids, a core of nonproliferating cells was not seen, but proliferating cells were concentrated at the spheroid periphery. Electron microscopy showed that the spheroids were enveloped by an extracellular matrix and that cell adhesion within the spheroids was due in part to desmosomes. PSA secretion by the spheroids could be modeled as originating from a spherical shell whose thickness was independent of overall spheroid diameter. The shell thickness obtained by fitting an appropriate equation to the data was consistent with that determined from the bromodeoxyuridine studies. LNCaP cells exhibit several important features of prostate cancer cells; in vivo, they are androgen responsive, and they express prostatic acid phosphatase, PSA, and prostate-specific membrane antigen. LNCaP spheroids provide a simple but relevant model for the study of drug delivery and response in prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3171s-3176s
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number10 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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