Authenticated Liver Cancer Cell Lines for Cancer Research

Amongst liver cancers, the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increasing and has a high mortality rate. Chronic hepatitis B- or hepatitis C-induced cirrhosis is the leading risk factor for HCC. For reasons that are not entirely known, males may be three to five times more likely than females to develop HCC, the most common type of liver cancer. 83% of cases are diagnosed in less-developed countries, with the highest rates found in east and southeast Asia and in middle and western Africa; rates are lower in south-central and western Asia. The five-year survival rate is 31% for patients who are diagnosed at an early stage, but drops to 3% if cancer has metastasized to other tissues of the body.1

Types of Liver Cancer

Hepatocellular carcinoma accounts for 80% of all adult liver cancers. Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) and angiosarcoma comprise 10-20% and 1% of liver cancer diagnoses, respectively.


Type of cancer Hepatocellular carcinoma Cholangiocarcinoma Angiosarcoma
Tissue of origin Liver Bile duct tissue Hepatic blood

Risk Factors

The major risk factor for liver cancer is exposure to hepatitis viruses and environmental pathogens. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection accounts for 60% of total liver cancer, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is responsible for 33%. Other risk factors include alcohol-related cirrhosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and obesity.


The most commonly mutated genes in liver cancer are TP53, CTNNB1, TERT, HNF1A, LRP1B, ARID1A, AXIN1, ARID2, KMT2C, and IL6ST.

Click on the genes (above) to find relevant products (antibodies, shRNA, siRNA, primers, CRISPR plasmids) for your research study.

Small Molecules/Monoclonal Antibodies

Small molecule compounds and antibodies can be used to target cancer cells and block tumor growth and progression.  The most common strategy for hepatocellular carcinoma is inhibition of angiogenesis signals.  Drugs used to target liver cancer include:

  • Sorafenib Tosylate (Nexavar)
  • Regorafenib (Stivarga)


Cancer cell lines are essential for cancer research, and provide an accessible, cost-effective model for cellular behavior and response. Based on cell phenotype and experimental need, cell lines have the potential for utility in multiple applications. Some examples of application-specific cell line use are included below.


Application Cell line used
In vitro screening Hepatic cancer cell lines like Huh-7D12  were used to test the cytotoxic effects of plant extracts3 and chemical compounds4
Target identification/validation Hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines, including HepG2, Hep3B, Huh7, C3A, PLC, LO2, and SUN387 were used to validate the role of p53-miR-1246-NFIB pathway in disease pathogenesis5  
Toxicology studies Spheroids derived from HepG2 were used for repeated dose high-throughput toxicity studies6
Metastasis studies SK-HEP-1 cells were used to screen drugs that inhibit metastasis7
Xenograft models HepG2 cell lines were used to develop xenograft models of hepatocellular carcinoma8
In-vitro models HepG2 cells were modeled to study the life cycle of hepatitis B virus9
Rat hepatocytes (McA RH-7777) and human hepatocytes (HepG2) were used as in vitro models for ischemia/reperfusion diseases10
miRNA regulation studies NCTC 1469 cell lines were used to study the role of MiR-19a in glycogen synthesis of hepatocytes11


ECACC Liver Cancer Cell Lines


Product No. Cell Name Cell Line Origin
87050701 ARL-6 Rat Wistar liver hepatoma
94101906 C2 Rat hepatoma [HGPRT-]
94101907 C2-Rev 7 Rat hepatoma [HGPRT-]
89042701 Fao Rat hepatoma
87031301 H-4-II-E Rat hepatoma Reuber H35
85061112 H4-II-E-C3 Rat liver hepatoma
89102001 H4S Rat liver hepatoma
94101905 H5 Rat hepatoma
86062703 Hep 3B Human hepatocyte carcinoma
85011430 Hep G2 Human Caucasian hepatocyte carcinoma
92110305 Hepa 1-6 Mouse hepatoma
95090613 Hepa-1c1c7 Mouse hepatoma
94101908 HF1 Rat hepatoma Hybrid [H5xFao]
94101909 HF1-5 Rat hepatoma Hybrid [H5xFao]
93120108 HTC Rat hepatoma
85061110 HTC (BUdR) Rat liver hepatoma
1042712 Huh-7D12 Human hepatocellular carcinoma
90021504 MCA-RH 7777 Rat Buffalo hepatoma
96121721 MH-22A Mouse C3HA hepatocarcinoma
90011902 N1-S1 Rat hepatoma
91091816 SK-HEP-1 Human liver adenocarcinoma



  2. Liu, C.Y., Chen, K.F., and Chen, P.J. (2015) Treatment of Liver Cancer. Cold Spring Harb. Perspect. Med. 5, a021535.
  3. Tundis, R., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., Bonesi, M., Colica, C., and Menichini, F. (2011) In vitro cytotoxic activity of extracts and isolated constituents of Salvia leriifolia Benth. against a panel of human cancer cell lines. Chem. Biodivers. 8, 1152–1162.
  4. Bonesi, M., Tundis, R., Deguin, B., Loizzo, M. R., Menichini, F., Tillequin, F., and Menichini, F. (2008) In vitro biological evaluation of novel 7-O-dialkylaminoalkyl cytotoxic pectolinarigenin derivatives against a panel of human cancer cell lines. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 18, 5431–5434.
  5. Zhang, Q., Cao, L.Y., Cheng, S.J., Zhang, A.M., Jin, X.S., and Li, Y. (2015) p53-induced microRNA-1246 inhibits the cell growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells by targeting NFIB. Oncol. Rep. 33, 1335–1341.
  6. Ramaiahgari, S. C., den Braver, M. W., Herpers, B., Terpstra, V., Commandeur, J. N. M., van de Water, B., and Price, L. S. (2014) A 3D in vitro model of differentiated HepG2 cell spheroids with improved liver-like properties for repeated dose high-throughput toxicity studies. Arch. Toxicol. 88, 1083–1095.
  7. Chen, H.Y., Yang, C.M., Chen, J.Y., Yueh, T.C., and Hu, M.L. (2015) Multicarotenoids at Physiological Levels Inhibit Metastasis in Human Hepatocarcinoma SK-Hep-1 Cells. Nutr. Cancer 67, 676–686.
  8. Liu, Y. M., Xia, Y., Dai, W., Han, H. Y., Dong, Y. X., Cai, J., Zeng, X., Luo, F. Y., Yang, T., Li, Y. Z., Chen, J., and Guan, J. (2014) Cholesterol-conjugated let-7a mimics: antitumor efficacy on hepatocellular carcinoma in vitro and in a preclinical orthotopic xenograft model of systemic therapy. BMC Cancer 14, 889.
  9. Sells, M. A., Chen, M. L., and Acs, G. (1987) Production of hepatitis B virus particles in Hep G2 cells transfected with cloned hepatitis B virus DNA. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 84, 1005–1009.
  10. Hu, Q., Wood, C. R., Cimen, S., Venkatachalam, A. B., and Alwayn, I. P. J. (2015) Mitochondrial Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns (MTDs) Are Released during Hepatic Ischemia Reperfusion and Induce Inflammatory Responses. PloS One 10, e0140105.
  11. Dou, L., Meng, X., Sui, X., Wang, S., Shen, T., Huang, X., Guo, J., Fang, W., Man, Y., Xi, J., and Li, J. (2015) MiR-19a regulates PTEN expression to mediate glycogen synthesis in hepatocytes. Sci. Rep. 5, 11602.