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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Animal model of naturally occurring bladder cancer: Characterization of four new canine transitional cell carcinoma cell lines

Kusum Rathore and Maria Cekanova*

Author Affiliations

Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, The University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, 2407 River Drive A122, Knoxville, TN 37996-4550, USA

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:465  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-465

Published: 25 June 2014



Development and further characterization of animal models for human cancers is important for the improvement of cancer detection and therapy. Canine bladder cancer closely resembles human bladder cancer in many aspects. In this study, we isolated and characterized four primary transitional cell carcinoma (K9TCC) cell lines to be used for future in vitro validation of novel therapeutic agents for bladder cancer.


Four K9TCC cell lines were established from naturally-occurring canine bladder cancers obtained from four dogs. Cell proliferation rates of K9TCC cells in vitro were characterized by doubling time. The expression profile of cell-cycle proteins, cytokeratin, E-cadherin, COX-2, PDGFR, VEGFR, and EGFR were evaluated by immunocytochemistry (ICC) and Western blotting (WB) analysis and compared with established human bladder TCC cell lines, T24 and UMUC-3. All tested K9TCC cell lines were assessed for tumorigenic behavior using athymic mice in vivo.


Four established K9TCC cell lines: K9TCC#1Lillie, K9TCC#2Dakota, K9TCC#4Molly, and K9TCC#5Lilly were confirmed to have an epithelial-cell origin by morphology analysis, cytokeratin, and E-cadherin expressions. The tested K9TCC cells expressed UPIa (a specific marker of the urothelial cells), COX-2, PDGFR, and EGFR; however they lacked the expression of VEGFR. All tested K9TCC cell lines confirmed a tumorigenic behavior in athymic mice with 100% tumor incidence.


The established K9TCC cell lines (K9TCC#1Lillie, K9TCC#2Dakota, K9TCC#4Molly, and K9TCC#5Lilly) can be further utilized to assist in development of new target-specific imaging and therapeutic agents for canine and human bladder cancer.

Transitional cell carcinoma; Canine; Xenograft; Bladder cancer