Morphologic and functional studies of a rat hypercalcemia-associated testicular tumor maintained in cell culture

A. W. Saxe, A. Santora, J. Norton, T. Triche, M. F. Brennan, A. Spiegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Rice H500 tumor is a transplantable nonmetastasizing testicular tumor of Fischer rats associated with hypercalcemia and increased urine cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP) excretion, features similar to those of the clinical syndrome of humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy. Tumor cells can be maintained in tissue culture; one million cells grown in culture reinoculated in Fischer rats reproduce the syndrome of tumor growth and lethal hypercalcemia. Infusion of concentrated, serum-free cell culture supernatant into parathyroidectomized rats produced an increase in urine cyclic AMP similar to that produced by an infusion of bovine parathyroid hormone. Light and electron microscopic appearance of the H500 tumor in vivo and in vitro is similar to previous descriptions of a hypercalcemia-associated rat testicular tumor believed to be of Leydig cell origin. Ultrastructural characteristics of microvilli, intracellular glandlike lumina, and cell-cell attachments, however, suggest an epithelial origin. Absence of smooth endoplasmic reticulum typical of steroid-secreting Leydig cells suggests these cells are not actively involved in steroid synthesis and secretion. The ultrastructure of this tumor is sufficiently different from that of normal Leydig cells that the cell of origin is unclear. Nonetheless, this tumor provides a useful model of hormonally mediated tumor-associated hypercalcemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1023
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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