Metastasis-Suppressed C8161 Melanoma Cells Arrest in Lung but Fail to Proliferate

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The incidence of melanoma continues to increase at a rapid rate. As for most cancers, it is melanoma metastases, rather than the primary malignancy, that is the principal cause of death. We previously showed that the introduction of a normal copy of chromosome 6 into the metastatic human melanoma cell line C8161 suppresses metastasis at a step subsequent to tumor cells entering the bloodstream. To better define the step(s) in metastasis blocked by the addition of chromosome 6 we engineered cells that constitutively express green fluorescent protein (GFP). When these tagged, chromosome 6 hybrid cells were injected intravenously into athymic mice, grossly detectable metastases did not form. However, fluorescence microscopy revealed micro-metastases (single cells or clusters of < 10 cells) in the lungs, suggesting that these cells lodged in the lungs but failed to proliferate. Cells isolated from lung up to 60 days post-injection grew in culture and/or formed tumors when injected into the skin, indicating that they were still viable, but dormant. This result implies that the gene(s) on chromosome 6 interfere specifically with growth regulatory response in the lung, but not in the skin. Thus, the gene(s) responsible for metastasis suppression represents a new class of metastasis inhibitors acting at the final stages of the metastatic cascade that is, affecting the ability of the cells to survive and proliferate at a specific secondary site.


Goldberg, S. F., Harms, J. F., Quon, K., & Welch, D. R. (1999). Metastasis-Suppressed C8161 Melanoma Cells Arrest in Lung but Fail to Proliferate. Clinical and Experimental Metastasis, 17(7), 601–607. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1006718800891

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