Proliferation, migration and invasion of human glioma cells exposed to paclitaxel (Taxol) in vitro

A. J.A. Terzis*, F. Thorsen, O. Heese, T. Visted, R. Bjerkvig, O. Dahl, H. Arnold, G. Gundersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Paclitaxel (Taxol), an anti-cancer drug derived from Taxus species, was tested for its anti-migrational, anti-invasive and anti-proliferative effect on two human glioma cell lines (GaMg and D-54Mg) grown as multicellular tumour spheroids. In addition, the direct effect of paclitaxel on glioma cells was studied using flow cytometry and scanning confocal microscopy. Both cell lines showed a dose-dependent growth and migratory response to paclitaxel. The GaMg cells were found to be 5-10 times more sensitive to paclitaxel than D-54Mg cells. Paclitaxel also proved to be remarkably effective in preventing invasion in a co-culture system in which tumour spheroids were confronted with fetal rat brain cell aggregates. Control experiments with Cremophor EL (the solvent of paclitaxel for clinical use) in this study showed no effect on tumour cell migration, cell proliferation or cell invasion. Scanning confocal microscopy of both cell lines showed an extensive random organization of the microtubules in the cytoplasm. After paclitaxel exposure, the GaMg and the D-54Mg cells exhibited a fragmentation of the nuclear material, indicating a possible induction of apoptosis. In line with this, flow cytometric DNA histograms showed an accumulation of cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle after 24 h of paclitaxel exposure. After 48 h, a deterioration of the DNA histograms was observed indicating nuclear fragmentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1744-1752
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Confocal microscopy
  • Cremophor EL
  • Glioma
  • Invasiveness
  • Paclitaxel (taxol)
  • Three-dimensional culture


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