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Last Updated: 05/10/22

NCI60 Cell Line Laboratory at the Frederick National Laboratories for Cancer Research

The NCI60 cell Line screen serves the global cancer research community accepting compounds into the screen from laboratories all over the world. The NCI60 cell line screening panel has nine cancers, including leukemia, melanoma, non-small cell lung, colon, brain, ovary, breast, prostate, and kidney. This effort has served the global cancer research community for >20 years. The NCI60 lab is headed by Dr. Thomas Dexheimer. The aim of the screen is to identify agents (small molecules, proteins or other) showing growth inhibition or killing of tumor cell lines. The NCI60 screen is unique in that the large database of compounds tested allows the 60-cell line concentration response curve pattern produced by a given compound to be compared with response patterns of other compounds to identify similarities and potentially identify mechanisms (COMPARE). The NCI60 cell line screen may be the most widely recognized resource for testing new compounds available to the global cancer research community. The vision for the role of the NCI60 cell line panel has grown and broadened along with the technologies available to explore the cancer cell. There have been more than 250 peer-reviewed papers published on the NCI60 cell line panel over the past 5 years. While the majority of the reports are medicinal chemistry, drug response and compound studies, many center on gene expression, genomics, and development of gene signatures. Other prominent topics include mutation analyses, proteomics, development of bioinformatics methods, biomarkers, microRNAs, metabolomics, epigenetics and pathways analyses. Cancer research community investigators both contribute and receive data from this resource. The NCI60 screen will continue to provide the cell lines, and RNA or DNA from the 60 cell lines to the cancer research community with a high standard of quality and continue to develop the characterization of the lines through contributions from interested investigators.

For more information regarding NCI-60 human cancer cell line screen, please visit the NCI-60 main page.


Krushkal J, Negi S, Yee LM, Evans JR, Grkovic T, Palmisano A, Fang J, Sankaran H, McShane LM, Zhao Y, O'Keefe BR. Molecular genomic features associated with in vitro response of the NCI-60 cancer cell line panel to natural products. Mol Onco. 2021;15: 381-406.

Reinhold WC, Varma S, Sunshine M, Elloumi F, Ofori-Atta K, Lee S, Trepel JB, Meltzer PS, Doroshow JH, Pommier Y. RNA Sequencing of the NCI-60: Integration into CellMiner and CellMiner CDB.Cancer Res. 2019; 79: 3514-24.

Guo T, Luna A, Rajapakse VN, Koh CC, Wu Z, Liu W, Sun Y, Gao H, Menden MP, Xu C, Calzone L, Martignetti L, Auwerx C, Buljan M, Banaei-Esfahani A, Ori A, Iskar M, Gillet L, Bi R, Zhang J, Zhang H, Yu C, Zhong Q, Varma S, Schmitt U, Qiu P, Zhang Q, Zhu Y, Wild PJ, Garnett MJ, Bork P, Beck M, Liu K, Saez-Rodriguez J, Elloumi F, Reinhold WC, Sander C, Pommier Y, Aebersold R. Quantitative Proteome Landscape of the NCI-60 Cancer Cell Lines. iScience 2019; 21: 664-80.

Lv Z, Wang S, Zhao W, He N. MicroRNA analysis of NCI-60 human cancer cells indicates that miR-720 and miR-887 are potential therapeutic biomarkers for breast cancer. Drug Discov Ther 2020; 14: 197-203.

Close DA, Wang AX, Kochanek SJ, Shun T, Eiseman JL, Johnston PA. Implementation of the NCI-60 Human Tumor Cell Line Panel to Screen 2260 Cancer Drug Combinations to Generate >3 Million Data Points Used to Populate a Large Matrix of Anti-Neoplastic Agent Combinations (ALMANAC) Database. SLAS Discov 2019; 24: 242-63.

He M, Grkovic T, Evans JR, Thornburg CC, Akee RK, Thompson JR, Whitt JA, Harris MJ, Loyal JA, Britt JR, Jia L, White JD, Newman DJ, O'Keefe BR. The NCI library of traditional Chinese medicinal plant extracts - Preliminary assessment of the NCI-60 activity and chemical profiling of selected species. Fitoterapia 2019; 137: 104285.

Hurwitz SN, Rider MA, Bundy JL, Liu X, Singh RK, Meckes DG Jr. Proteomic profiling of NCI-60 extracellular vesicles uncovers common protein cargo and cancer type-specific biomarkers. Oncotarget 2016; 7: 86999-7015.

Reinhold WC, Varma S, Sunshine M, Rajapakse V, Luna A, Kohn KW, Stevenson H, Wang Y, Heyn H, Nogales V, Moran S, Goldstein DJ, Doroshow JH, Meltzer PS, Esteller M, Pommier Y. The NCI-60 Methylome and Its Integration into CellMiner. Cancer Res 2017; 77: 601-12.

Chabner BA. NCI-60 Cell Line Screening: A Radical Departure in its Time. J Natl Cancer Inst 2016; 108: djv388.

Reinhold WC, Varma S, Sousa F, Sunshine M, Abaan OD, Davis SR, Reinhold SW, Kohn KW, Morris J, Meltzer PS, Doroshow JH, Pommier Y. Expression of NCI-60 whole exome sequencing and pharmacological CellMiner analyses. PLoS One 2014; 9: e101670.

Patnaik SK, Dahlgaard J, Mazin W, Kannisto E, Jensen T, Knudsen S, Yendamuri S. microRNAs in the NCI-60 cancer cell-lines. PLoS One 2012; 7: e49918.

About the Branch Chief

Dr. Mary K. Wolpert, Ph.D. Dr. Beverly A. Teicher PhD is Chief of the Molecular Pharmaco-logy Branch at NCI, a position that she assumed in early 2011. One focus of the Molecular Pharmacology Branch is target and drug discovery for rare and recalcitrant cancers such as sarcoma and small cell lung cancer. Dr. Teicher completed a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University and postdoctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. More…