Authenticated Breast Cancer Cell Lines for Cancer Research

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women and a leading cause of death due to cancer.  It starts as a localized tumor, but can metastasize to distant sites and cause mortality. Breast cancers are heterogeneous and pose challenges for diagnosis and treatment. Especially challenging are so-called triple negative breast cancers, or those in which the tumor does not express the three types of receptors most closely associated with breast cancer growth–estrogen, progesterone, and HER-2/neu and which do not respond to any hormonal therapies1.

Types of breast cancer

Ductal and lobular carcinomas are two types of breast cancers named for their tissues of origin. Based on the presence of receptors they are classified into hormone receptor-positive, HER2-positive, and triple-negative cancers.


Hormone receptor-positive HER2-positive Triple-negative
Cancer cells expressing either estrogen or progesterone receptors
Cancer cells expressing human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)


Tumors which do not express any of the receptors for estrogen, progesterone, or human epidermal growth factor (HER2)
Cell lines: T47D, ZR-75-1, FM3A, ZR-75-30, MDA-MB-361, MCF7, MFM-223 Cell lines: MTSV1-7 CE1, HMT-3522 S1, HMT-3522 S2 Cell lines: Hs 578T, MDA-MB-157

Risk factors

Age is the major risk factor for breast cancer, where incidence increases with advancing age. Increased exposure to estrogen during menses at a young age, and first pregnancy at an older age are other important risk factors2.


Commonly mutated genes in breast cancer include PIK3CA, TP53, MED12, GATA3, and PTEN. However, mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 alone account for half of familial inherited breast cancer cases, and may additionally place individuals carrying these mutations at higher risk for other malignancies including ovarian cancer.

Select cell lines by genetic mutation from the table below and click genes to find relevant products (antibodies, shRNA, siRNA, primers, CRISPR plasmids) for your research study.


Mutated gene Cell lines
BRCA2 MDA-MB-361, ZR-75-30
PIK3CA MCF7, T47D,  MFM-223, MDA-MB-361, Hs 578T
TP53 MDA-MB-231, T47D, MDA-MB-157, MFM-223, MDA-MB-361, Hs 578T
MED12 MDA-MB-157, Hs 578T
GATA3 Hs 578T
PTEN ZR-75-1
SPEN T47D, MDA-MB-157, MDA-MB-361

Table 1: Breast cancer cell lines with specific somatic mutations


Small molecules/monoclonal antibodies

Small molecule compounds and antibodies can be used to target cancer cells and block tumor growth and progression. There are various small molecule compounds and antibodies that can target breast cancer based on stage and type of tumor.

Types of targeted breast cancer drugs include:

  • Monoclonal antibodies (Trastuzumab, Pertuzumab)
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (Lapatinib)
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (Palbociclib, Ribociclib)
  • mTOR inhibitors (Everolimus).

In addition, investigations of poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors are underway to target triple negative breast cancers3.


Cancer cell lines are the foundation for cancer research. They have been extensively used in countless studies because they are easy to use and cost-effective. Based on the characteristics of the cell line and experimental need, cell lines may be used in one or more applications.


Application Cell line used
Drug response studies MCF-10F, MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines were used to study the apoptotic effects of noscapine4 Anti-cancer effects of vitamin D analogues were investigated in tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7/TAMR-1 cell lines5
Evaluation of new treatment strategies Panel of breast cancer cell lines, like T47D, MCF7MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 were used to investigate the additive effects of cilengitide and radiation (combination treatment)6
Anti-cancer properties of a novel dual-target steroid sulfatase inhibitor (SR 161157) were studied in MCF7 and MCF-7/S0.5 cell lines7
Target identification/validation MCF7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines were used to evaluate novel drug targets, such as ATR and CHEK18
Targeted drug delivery Effects of targeted drug delivery of nanoparticle formulations were studied in MCF7 cell line9
Growth factor signaling MFM-223 and MDA-MB-436 cell lines were employed to test the effects of adiponectin on cancer cell migration10
Cell migration studies ZR-75-30 cell line was used to investigate anti-migration effects of berberine, a plant-derived compound11
Tumor micro-environment MCF7, T47D, MMT-060562 and ZR-75-1 cell lines12 were used to study the biological role of stromal cells (adipocytes) in tumor micro environment
PMC42-LA cell line was used as model to study the signaling between epithelial and stromal cells in the development of breast cancer13
miRNA regulation studies Biological role of miR-155 was investigated in MDA-MB-157 cell line14


ECACC Breast Cancer Cell Lines

Product No. Cell Name Cell Line Origin
10081201 1-7HB2 Human breast cancer, adhesion properties
96112021 BICR/M1RK Rat Marshall mammary tumour
90060504 C127I Mouse RIII mammary tumour
90110502 CL-S1 Mouse BALB/c mammary alveolar nodules, pre-neoplastic
87091701 CNC 127I Mouse RIII mammary tumour
87100804 FM3A Mouse C3H mammary carcinoma
87111904 FM3Ats C1.T85 Mouse C3H mammary carcinoma
98102210 HMT-3522 S1 Human Caucasian breast epithelial
98102211 HMT-3522 S2 Human Caucasian breast epithelial
98102212 HMT-3522 T4-2 Human breast carcinoma
86082104 Hs 578T Human breast carcinoma
86012803 MCF7 Human Caucasian breast adenocarcinoma
92020422 MDA-MB-157 Human breast medulla carcinoma
92020424 MDA-MB-231 Human Caucasian breast adenocarcinoma
92020423 MDA-MB-361 Human Caucasian breast adenocarcinoma; brain metastasis
98050130 MFM-223 Human Caucasian mammary carcinoma
90111911 MMT-060562 Mouse C57BL x A/F1 mammary tumour
10081202 MTSV1-7 CE1 Breast cancer, morphogenesis, adhesion properties
87121104 P1.HTR Mouse DBA/2 mastocytoma
87121103 P1.HTR.TK- Mouse DBA/2 mastocytoma
87121102 P1Bb1.1 (DBA/2) Mouse DBA/2 mastocytoma
85011406 P815-1-1 Mouse DBA/2 mastocytoma
94122105 SVCT Human breast epithelium, SV40 transformed
85102201 T47D Human breast tumour
85061102 TA3 Hauschka Mouse mammary carcinoma
05092804 VP229 Human breast cancer
05092805 VP267 Human breast cancer
05092806 VP303 Human breast cancer
87012601 ZR-75-1 Human Caucasian breast carcinoma
88113004 ZR-75-30 Human breast carcinoma


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  2. Stuckey, A. (2011) Breast cancer: epidemiology and risk factors. Clin. Obstet. Gynecol. 54, 96–102.
  3. Jamdade, V. S., Sethi, N., Mundhe, N. A., Kumar, P., Lahkar, M., and Sinha, N. (2015) Therapeutic targets of triple-negative breast cancer: a review. Br. J. Pharmacol. 172, 4228–4237.
  4. Willmann, L., Schlimpert, M., Halbach, S., Erbes, T., Stickeler, E., and Kammerer, B. (2015) Metabolic profiling of breast cancer: Differences in central metabolism between subtypes of breast cancer cell lines. J. Chromatogr. B Analyt. Technol. Biomed. Life. Sci. 1000, 95–104.
  5. Larsen, S. S., Heiberg, I., and Lykkesfeldt, A. E. (2001) Anti-oestrogen resistant human breast cancer cell lines are more sensitive towards treatment with the vitamin D analogue EB1089 than parent MCF-7 cells. Br. J. Cancer 84, 686–690.
  6. Lautenschlaeger, T., Perry, J., Peereboom, D., Li, B., Ibrahim, A., Huebner, A., Meng, W., White, J., and Chakravarti, A. (2013) In vitro study of combined cilengitide and radiation treatment in breast cancer cell lines. Radiat. Oncol. Lond. Engl. 8, 246.
  7. Rasmussen, L. M., Zaveri, N. T., Stenvang, J., Peters, R. H., and Lykkesfeldt, A. E. (2007) A novel dual-target steroid sulfatase inhibitor and antiestrogen: SR 16157, a promising agent for the therapy of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. Treat. 106, 191–203.
  8. Abdel-Fatah, T. M. A., Middleton, F. K., Arora, A., Agarwal, D., Chen, T., Moseley, P. M., Perry, C., Doherty, R., Chan, S., Green, A. R., Rakha, E., Ball, G., Ellis, I. O., Curtin, N. J., and Madhusudan, S. (2015) Untangling the ATR-CHEK1 network for prognostication, prediction and therapeutic target validation in breast cancer. Mol. Oncol. 9, 569–585.
  9. Dadras, P., Atyabi, F., Irani, S., Ma’mani, L., Foroumadi, A., Mirzaie, Z. H., Ebrahimi, M., and Dinarvand, R. (2017) Formulation and evaluation of targeted nanoparticles for breast cancer theranostic system. Eur. J. Pharm. Sci. Off. J. Eur. Fed. Pharm. Sci. 97, 47–54.
  10. Jia, Z., Liu, Y., and Cui, S. (2014) Adiponectin induces breast cancer cell migration and growth factor expression. Cell Biochem. Biophys. 70, 1239–1245.
  11. Ma, W., Zhu, M., Zhang, D., Yang, L., Yang, T., Li, X., and Zhang, Y. (2017) Berberine inhibits the proliferation and migration of breast cancer ZR-75-30 cells by targeting Ephrin-B2. Phytomedicine Int. J. Phytother. Phytopharm. 25, 45–51.
  12. Manabe, Y., Toda, S., Miyazaki, K., and Sugihara, H. (2003) Mature adipocytes, but not preadipocytes, promote the growth of breast carcinoma cells in collagen gel matrix culture through cancer-stromal cell interactions. J. Pathol. 201, 221–228.
  13. Lebret, S. C., Newgreen, D. F., Thompson, E. W., and Ackland, M. L. (2007) Induction of epithelial to mesenchymal transition in PMC42-LA human breast carcinoma cells by carcinoma-associated fibroblast secreted factors. Breast Cancer Res. BCR 9, R19.
  14. Zheng, S.-R., Guo, G.-L., Zhai, Q., Zou, Z.-Y., and Zhang, W. (2013) Effects of miR-155 antisense oligonucleotide on breast carcinoma cell line MDA-MB-157 and implanted tumors. Asian Pac. J. Cancer Prev. APJCP 14, 2361–2366.