Malignant tumors are composed of cells with different phenotypic properties and only certain cell subpopulations present metastatic potential. The establishment of cell lines with high or low metastatic potential is necessary to investigate the molecular mechanisms of the metastatic process. However, human oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cell lines that are suitable for the above investigation are scarce. High and low metastatic cells were obtained from a primary lesion of a patient with tongue carcinoma who had not received any therapy. Two distinct cell lines were selected, UM1 with a scattered growth pattern and loose cell-cell adhesion, and UM2 with a colony-formed growth pattern and firm cell-cell adhesion. The expression of E-cadherin in UM1 was clearly lower than that in UM2. UM1 exhibited a higher motility, invasive and metastatic activity than UM2 in vivo and in vitro. A low invasive and a metastatic oral SCC cell line, useful to investigate invasion and metastasis mechanisms, have been established.

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