Human Tumor Stem-Cell Assay

Norm of Human Tumor Stem-Cell Assay

Growth or inhibition of growth of tumor cells.


Usage of Human Tumor Stem-Cell Assay

Determine the sensitivity or resistance of an individual's tumor cells to an anticancer drug.


Description of Human Tumor Stem-Cell Assay

An in vitro test to determine responsiveness of tumor cells to specific drugs. A specimen of tumor is obtained from the individual. The cells are enzymatically dissociated, centrifuged, and placed into suspensions. Different anticancer drugs are added to each sample before being placed onto agar plates. The plates are examined microscopically twice each week for at least 2–3 weeks when cell growth is likely to have occurred. Growth of the cells implies resistance to the drug or irradiation, and lack of growth indicates some anticancer effect.


Professional Considerations of Human Tumor Stem-Cell Assay

Consent form NOT required but IS required for the procedure used to obtain the specimen. See individual procedure for risks and contraindications.

1. Prepare surgical instruments for tissue removal.



1. Cells from the tumor are obtained and enzymatically dissociated in the laboratory.

  1. The cells are examined microscopically twice a week for 2–3 weeks.


Postprocedure Care

  1. Apply a sterile dressing to the incision site.
  2. Observe the site for bleeding and symptoms of infection for 24–48 hours.
  3. See Biopsy, Site-specific—Specimen.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Results take approximately 3 weeks but can help the physician select the treatment regimen most likely to be effective in destroying cancer cells.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. Approximately 50% of tumors are unsuitable for in vitro growth, making the test difficult to interpret.


Other Data

  1. Prediction of drug sensitivity is 40–90% correct, and prediction of drug resistance is 90–95% correct.