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Nilanjana Deb-Joardar, Gilles Thuret, Jean-Marc Dumollard, Lena Absi, Lydia Campos-Guyotat, Michel Peoc’h, Olivier Garraud, Philippe Gain; Experimental Study of the Survival of Metastatic Cancer Cells in Corneal Organ Culture. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(4):1339-1347. doi: 10.1167/iovs.05-1007.
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purpose. Transmission of donor malignancy to the recipient could be one of the most disastrous complications of corneal grafting. Because of the scarcity of donor tissue and the lack of sufficient scientific evidence, the harvest of donor tissues from deaths due to systemic malignancy is permitted. This study was conducted to investigate the possible transmission of donor metastatic disease via corneal tissue preserved in organ culture (OC) conditions.
methods. The viability of four frequent human cancer cell lines (lung, breast, skin, and colon) was studied in OC. Various inoculums of cancer cells labeled with the membrane marker PKH67 were seeded on donor corneas and preserved in OC, followed by cell-tracking studies, histopathology, and immunohistochemistry. HLA matching of the dissected Descemet’s membrane (DM) of preserved corneas was conducted, to demonstrate cell adherence. Primary cell culture was performed to confirm the viability of adherent tumor cells.
results. Viability tests showed a poor but persistent survival of cancer cells after 2 weeks in OC. Cell tracking, histopathology, and immunohistochemistry demonstrated cancer cell adherence to donor endothelium. HLA typing of the DM of preserved corneas revealed the presence of cancer cell alleles. Primary culture of the DM showed cell proliferation that was identical with the original cancer cell line, according to HLA studies.
conclusions. The findings demonstrate that under laboratory conditions, metastatic cancer cells adhere to donor corneal tissue, survive, and retain proliferative capacity during storage in OC. Cell lines differ in their viability potential, as well as the pattern of adherence to donor endothelium. Further in vivo experimentation in laboratory animals is need to determine the safety of such harvests.
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