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DU-145 Cells - A Researcher's Comprehensive Guide

DU-145 is a human prostate carcinoma cell line broadly applied in biomedical research. These cells serve as an invaluable model for studying prostate cancer biology, drug testing, and development. Besides, researchers also employ DU-145 cells to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying prostate cancer development, growth, and progression.

This article will give you valuable insights into the DU-145 prostate cancer cells. Particularly, it will cover:

  1. General information and origin of the DU-145 cell line
  2. Culturing of DU-145 cells
  3. DU-145 cell line: Advantages & Limitations
  4. Research applications of DU-145 cells
  5. Research Publications Featuring DU-145 Cells
  6. Resources for DU-145 Cell line: Protocols, Videos, and More

1.      General information and origin of the DU-145 cell line

Understanding a cell line's fundamental attributes and origin is essential before starting to work with it. This section will provide a comprehensive understanding of DU-145 cell line characteristics and origin. You will get to know: What are DU145 cancer cells? What is the morphology of DU145 cells? What is the difference between PC-3 and DU145?

  • DU-145, a human prostate cancer cell line, was derived from the brain of a Caucasian man (69 years old) with metastatic prostate carcinoma. These cells were first deposited by K.R. Stone and colleagues in 1978.
  • Like PC-3 prostate cancer cells, DU-145 also expresses androgen receptors. However, when these cells are subjected to androgen ligand treatment, they do not show any activity of androgen receptor-responsive genes thus, are considered androgen-independent cells.
  • DU-145 cells possess an epithelial morphology.
  • DU-145 cells are hypotriploid and have a modal chromosome number of 64. They exhibit several marker chromosomes, such as del (11) (q23), t(11q12q), 16q+, del (1) (p32), and del (9) (p11).

PC-3 Vs DU145

Both prostate cancer cell lines are androgen receptor-independent. They differ in terms of their tumorigenic and metastatic potential. When injected into an immunocompromised mouse, PC-3 cell line forms highly metastatic grade IV adenocarcinoma. In contrast, the DU-145 cell line develops prostate cancer with moderate metastatic potential [1].

Disruption of microfilaments in human prostate cancer cells PC-3.

2.      Culturing of DU-145 cells

DU-145 cell line is widely used in prostate cancer research laboratories. You should learn the following key points to facilitate its easy and efficient culturing. This section will include information about the DU145 medium, doubling time, cell culture conditions, and protocols.

Key Points for Culturing DU-145 Cells

Population Doubling Time:

The DU-145 doubling time ranges between 30 to 40 hours.

Adherent or in Suspension:

DU-145 is an adherent cell line.

Seeding Density:

DU-145 cells are seeded at a recommended cell density of 2 x 104 cells/cm2. At this density, cells yield a confluent monolayer in almost 4 days. For seeding, cells are washed with 1 x phosphate buffer saline and incubated with passaging solution, Accutase. After 8 to 10 minutes of incubation at room temperature, cells are added with fresh culture media and centrifuged. The collected cell pellet is carefully resuspended, and cells are poured into new culture flasks for growth.

Growth Medium:

EMEM (Eagle's Minimum Essential Medium) with medium supplements, i.e., 10% Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS), 2 mM L-Glutamine, 2.2 g/L NaHCO3, and EBSS. Media is renewed 2 to 3 times per week.

Growth Conditions:

DU-145 cultures are kept in a 37°C humidified incubator with a 5% CO2 source.


DU-145 cells are stored in the vapour phase of liquid nitrogen or at below -150°C temperature in an electric freezer to maintain cell viability for a longer term.

Freezing Process and Medium:

CM-1 or CM-ACF freezing media are recommended for DU-145 prostate cancer cells. A slow freezing method that allows the temperature to drop gradually by 1 °C is opted to freeze cells. This prevents cells from any shock and helps maintain their viability.

Thawing Process:

Frozen DU-145 cell vials are speedily thawed in a 37°C water bath for 40 to 60 seconds. Afterwards, cells are added with culture media and centrifuged to remove freezing media components. Harvested cells are resuspended in a growth medium and poured into the flask for growth. Freezing recovery takes almost 24 hours.

Biosafety Level:

Biosafety level 1 settings are required to culture the DU145 androgen receptor-independent cell line.

DU-145 prostate cancer cells at 10x and 20x magnification.

3.      DU-145 cell line: Advantages & Limitations

Like other cell lines, the prostate cancer cell line DU-145 is associated with some pros and cons. These attributes can help you decide its use in your research. The main advantages and drawbacks of DU-145 cells are mentioned below.


The advantages of DU-145 cells are:


DU-145 is an aggressive tumorigenic prostate cancer cell line with moderate metastatic potential. Used for developing the DU145 xenograft model in immunocompromised mice to study prostate cancer biology, development, and growth in vitro and in vivo.

Androgen Receptor Independence

DU-145 prostate cancer cells are androgen receptor-independent. They do not rely on androgens for growth and show no response at the cell and molecular levels when treated with androgens. Ideal for researching hormone-independent prostate cancer mechanisms.


The limitations of the DU-145 cell line are:

In Vitro model

DU-145 is an in vitro cell model of metastatic prostate carcinoma, so it may not fully represent the complexity of primary prostate tumours. Moreover, it may not imply all prostate cancer types and subtypes due to specific characteristics such as androgen receptor independency.


4.      Research applications of DU-145 cells

The DU-145 prostate cancer cell line has a wide range of research applications. A few promising applications are listed here.

  • Prostate cancer biology: DU-145 is a relevant model to study prostate cancer biology. Researchers employ these cells to investigate molecular mechanisms driving cancer development, progression, and metastasis. Moreover, genetic alterations commonly associated with prostate cancer are also explored. Research carried out in 2021 examined the DU-145 cells to identify potential biomarkers for efficient diagnostic and therapeutic implications. The study suggested actin gamma 1 (ACTG1) as a potential prostate cancer biomarker as it promotes cancer cell proliferation and regulates metastasis via MAPK/ERK pathway activation [2].
  • Drug screening and development: DU-145 prostate cancer cells are widely used to test the cytotoxicity and efficacy of potential anti-cancer drugs. This helps researchers identify new drugs, understand drug resistance and underlying molecular mechanisms. A study conducted in 2022 explored the cytotoxic effect of a resinous mixture, propolis or bee glue, in prostate cancer cell line PC-3 and DU-145. The study showed growth inhibitory effects of this natural substance in both cell lines and proposed its anti-cancer potential [3]. Another study was carried out in 2019 that investigated the anti-proliferative effects of a natural compound, Betaine in DU-145 prostate cancer cells. The research showed that betaine exerts anti-proliferative activities by elevating oxidative stress-mediated cell death and inflammation in DU-145 cells [4].

5.      Research Publications Featuring DU-145 Cells

The following are some research publications on the DU-145 cell line.

Concentration-dependent effects of zinc sulfate on DU-145 human prostate cancer cell line: oxidative, apoptotic, inflammatory, and morphological analyzes

This study in the Biological Trace Element Research, 2020, proposed that zinc sulfate (ZnSo4) exerts anti-proliferative effects in DU-145 cells via inducing apoptosis, morphological changes, oxidative damage, and inflammation.

Selective cytotoxic and anti-metastatic activity in DU-145 prostate cancer cells induced by Annona muricata L. bark extract and phytochemical, annonacin

This research article was published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies in 2020. This study explored the cytotoxic and anti-metastatic potential of a plant, Annona muricata L. bark extract, and its bioactive annonacin in the DU-145 cell line.

LncRNA LOXL1‐AS1/miR‐let‐7a‐5p/EGFR‐related pathway regulates the doxorubicin resistance of prostate cancer DU‐145 cells

This publication in IUBMB Life (2019) proposed that long non-coding RNA LOXL1-AS1 interaction with miR-let-7a-5p and EGFR pathway regulate the doxorubicin resistance in DU-145 prostate cancer cells.

Down-regulation of DDR1 induces apoptosis and inhibits EMT through phosphorylation of Pyk2/MKK7 in DU-145 and Lncap-FGC prostate cancer cell lines

This article in Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (2020) stated that Discoidin Domain Receptor1 (DDR1) gene downregulation causes DU-145 cells death and inhibits epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) via activating Pyk2/MKK7 pathway.

Casticin inhibits human prostate cancer DU 145 cell migration and invasion via Ras/Akt/NF‐κB signaling pathways

This study in the Journal of Food Biochemistry (2019) proposed that Casticin, a polymethoxyflavone, inhibits migration and invasion of DU-145 cells by regulating Ras/Akt/NF‐κB signalling.

6.      Resources for DU-145 Cell line: Protocols, Videos, and More

Many online resources are available on the DU-145 prostate cancer cell line. Here this section will mention a few resources explaining the handling, maintenance, and transfection protocol for these cells:

  • DU-145 transfection: This video tutorial is a step-wise guide for learning the protocol for transfecting DU-145 cells.

The DU-145 cell culture protocol is mentioned here.

  • DU-145 subculturing: This link will help you learn the protocol for subculturing or sub-cultivating DU-145 cells.
  • DU-145 cells: This website contains plenty of useful information about the DU-145 cell line, including DU145 medium, protocol for subculturing, and handling proliferative and cryopreserved cultures.


  1. Lima, A.R., et al., Discrimination between the human prostate normal and cancer cell exometabolome by GC-MS. Scientific reports, 2018. 8(1): p. 5539.
  2. Xiao, L., et al., Silencing ACTG1 expression induces prostate cancer epithelial mesenchymal transition through MAPK/ERK signaling pathway. DNA and Cell Biology, 2021. 40(11): p. 1445-1455.
  3. Gogacz, M., et al., Anticancer effects of propolis extracts obtained with the cold separation method on PC-3 and DU-145 prostate cancer cell lines. Molecules, 2022. 27(23): p. 8245.
  4. Kar, F., et al., Betaine suppresses cell proliferation by increasing oxidative stress–mediated apoptosis and inflammation in DU-145 human prostate cancer cell line. Cell Stress and Chaperones, 2019. 24: p. 871-881.