The aim of this study was to evaluate some bioassays that are different in principle: cell counting, colony forming assay, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide (MTT), sulforhodamine B (SRB), crystal violet, and alamarBlue, with respect to their ability to measure cisplatin-induced cell death of in vitro–cultivated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). Cisplatin was applied in concentrations of 1.0, 5.0, 10.0, 50.0, and 100 μM. The cells were incubated for 1 h, and the cell survival was measured 5 d after treatment. We found the colorimetric assays and cell counting to be comparable. The colony forming assay indicated a higher degree of cell kill compared with the other techniques. Measurement of cell survival after treatment with cisplatin can be done by use of any of the above tested assays. However, the majority of SCCHN cell lines available do not form colonies easily, or at all. Therefore, comparing the chemosensitivity between such cell lines is limited to alternative assays. In this respect, any of the tested colorimetric assays can be used. However, they seem to underestimate cell kill. Cell counting is also an alternative. This technique, however, is time consuming and operator dependent, as in the case of manual counting, or relatively expensive when counting is performed electronically, compared with the colorimetric assays.
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Vol. 42 • No. 10