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MX-1 Cells: Breast Cancer Research and Therapeutic Evaluations

MX-1 is a human breast adenocarcinoma cell line derived from a breast cancer xenograft model in athymic mice. The human breast adenocarcinoma cells were established from the breast tumor of a 29-year-old Caucasian female. MX1 cells are triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) that are extensively utilized for research on drug resistance, cell signaling, drug response mechanism, etc.

This article provides information regarding the MX-1 cell line. Here are several vital points that will be discussed:

  • MX-1 Cells: Origin and General Information
  • Cell culture information of MX-1 cells
  • Advantages and Limitations of MX-1 cell line
  • MX-1 cell line research applications
  • Publications related to MX-1 cells
  • MX-1 cell line Resources: Protocols, Videos & More

Origin and General Information on MX-1 Cells

Before working with this cell line, you should learn its nuts and bolts. We will review almost all the general information regarding the MX-1 cell line.

The immortal MX-1 cell line is a tumorigenic cell line established from a tumor xenograft. MX-1 cells are considered a type of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) [1]. Moreover, these cells are estrogen receptor and p53 negative, as they do not express these genes.

MX-1 cells - A Model System for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

The culture conditions of the MX-1 cell line are not fussy. These cells can be easily propagated and used in various research laboratories for transfection studies. The transient transfection method commonly studies the underlying cellular mechanisms and gene expression patterns in this cell line [2, 3].

This cell line is a sound model system for breast carcinomas. It can be used to understand the molecular mechanisms behind disease progression and to screen and develop drugs to combat disease. More specifically, the human MX-1 breast adenocarcinoma cell line can be an alternative to TNBC cells as it is estrogen receptor-negative [4].

MX-1 Cells and its Applications in Research

This human breast adenocarcinoma MX-1 cell line is commonly used in breast cancer studies instead of cells such as MDA-MB-231 or MCF-7. Here are a few special applications of this cell line in cancer research.  

  1. Drug resistance mechanisms

MX-1 cells are used to study the molecular factors mediating the development of resistance against breast cancer drugs. Studies have widely used MX-1 cells to establish drug-resistant models. A study published in 2021 reported the use of MX-1 cells to generate a doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cell line. The developed cell model validated the ABC transporter ABCB1 and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) involvement in acquiring chemoresistance [5].

  1. Gene expression/cell signaling pathway

The MX-1 cell line can be transfected transiently to elucidate gene expression patterns and cell signaling pathways. Studies have used MX-1 cells for shRNA (short hairpin RNA) and non-coding RNA transfection to explore their effect on breast cancer cells proliferation and growth. Moreover, associated gene signaling pathways are elucidated [2, 6].

  1. Screening of potential inhibitors

MX-1 cells can be used for screening potential drugs against breast cancer as they mimic the cancer cell microenvironment. A research study has shown the therapeutic activity of Vinorelbine, a microtubule toxin, that triggered cell death and polyploidy in MX-1 cells [4].

Table 1. Notable Publications with MX-1 Cells  



Study Title

Cell Lines Used

Key Findings

Nature: Scientific Reports


Nongenotoxic ABCB1 activator tetraphenylphosphonium can contribute to doxorubicin resistance in MX-1 breast cancer cell line


Doxorubicin resistance MX-1 cell line was developed to study molecular mechanisms, i.e., epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and ABC transporter ABCB1.

Cancer & Chemotherapy


Vinorelbine, a Microtubule Toxin, Induces Apoptosis and Polyploidy in MX-1, a Human Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Line


The anti-breast cancer potential of a microtubule toxin, Vinorelbine, was evaluated.



The analog of cGAMP, c-di-AMP, activates STING mediated cell death pathway in estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer cells

MX-1, MDA-MB-231

Estrogen receptor-negative MX-1 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines were used to study the molecular factors behind the cell death pathway activation.

International Journal of Molecular Medicine


LINCS gene expression signatures analysis revealed bosutinib as a radiosensitizer of breast cancer cells by targeting eIF4G1


The radio-sensitization effect of Bosutinib was explored. The drug makes cells radiation sensitive by targeting eIF4G1 and other DNA damage response proteins.

The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology


Mixomics analysis of breast cancer: Long non-coding RNA linc01561 acts as ceRNA involved in the progression of breast cancer


The role of linc01561 long non-coding RNA in breast cancer development was explored via transfection of MX-1 cells.

Information on the culture of MX-1 cells

  • Population doubling time: The MX-1 cell line takes almost 30-35 hours to double.
  • Adherent or in suspension: The human breast adenocarcinoma cell line MX-1 is growing adherently and has an epithelial cell-like morphology, as seen below:
  • Seeding density: MX-1 should be subcultured at 80-90% confluency like other cell lines. High confluency (above 90%) can lead to slower cell proliferation rates. MX-1 cells are detached using TrypleExpress and, after resuspension with growth medium, seeded at a cell density of 2×104cells/cm2.
  • Growth medium: Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM) or Ham's F12 medium are recommended for culturing MX-1 cells. These media are supplemented with 2 mM L-glutamine and 5% fetal bovine serum (FBS). Media should be renewed 2 to 3 times per week.
  • Growth conditions (temperature, CO2): MX-1 cells are grown in a sterilized humidified incubator supplemented with 5% CO2 at 37 °C.
  • Storage: Like other cell lines, the MX-Cell line is stored in liquid nitrogen or its vapor phase to maintain cell viability for long-term storage.
  • Freezing process and medium: A slow freezing method (-1°C drop in temperature) is recommended for maintaining the viability of MX-1 cells. CM-1 or CM-ACF is used as a freezing media, available from CLS.
  • Thawing process: Frozen MX-1 cells are thawed in a water bath containing an anti-microbial agent at 37 °C. Pre-warmed growth medium is added to cells and centrifuged to eliminate the remains of freezing media. Later, the cell pellet is resuspended in a fresh growth medium and cultured.
  • Biosafety level: Biosafety level 1 is recommended for the handling of the MX-1 cell line.

MX-1 cell line Resources: Protocols, Videos & More

There are limited resources available regarding culturing and transfection methods, but we gathered as much information as possible for you.

Cell culture protocols

MX-1 Cell Lines: Our product page provides all the key information about the MX-1 cell line. It lists cell culturing, cell freezing, and thawing protocols. Transfection protocols for the MX-1 cell line

MX-1 cells are used in many transient transfection analysis studies. Here, we have listed a few resources to help you with the transfection protocols.

  1. MX-1 cells transfection: This publication describes the protocol for transfection with siRNA in MX-1 cells for developing a gene knock-out model.
  2. Mammalian cell transfection: This article has all the essential information about transfection methods used in mammalian cell lines.

We hope that this article has provided you with valuable knowledge on the MX-1 cell line and that you have gained a better understanding of how to culture, maintain, and utilize these cells in your research. If you're interested in working with the MX-1 cell line, don't hesitate to order from us to kickstart your research journey!


  1. Stefanski, C.D. and J.R. Prosperi, Combating CHK1 resistance in triple negative breast cancer: EGFR inhibition as potential combinational therapy. Cancer Drug Resistance, 2022. 5(1): p. 229.
  2. Vasiyani, H., et al., The analog of cGAMP, c-di-AMP, activates STING mediated cell death pathway in estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer cells. Apoptosis, 2021. 26: p. 293-306.
  3. Xiang, S., et al., Proteomic analysis of inhibitor of apoptosis proteinlike protein2 on breast cancer cell proliferation. Molecular Medicine Reports, 2022. 25(3): p. 1-11.
  4. Nakajima, H., C. Furukawa, and J. Magae, Vinorelbine, a Microtubule Toxin, Induces Apoptosis and Polyploidy in MX-1, a Human Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cell Line. Gan to Kagaku ryoho. Cancer & Chemotherapy, 2019. 46(3): p. 447-451.
  5. Kubiliute, R., et al., Nongenotoxic ABCB1 activator tetraphenylphosphonium can contribute to doxorubicin resistance in MX-1 breast cancer cell line. Scientific reports, 2021. 11(1): p. 1-11.
  6. Jiang, R., et al., Mixomics analysis of breast cancer: Long non-coding RNA linc01561 acts as ceRNA involved in the progression of breast cancer. The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, 2018. 102: p. 1-9.