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BxPC-3 Cell Line

BxPC-3 is a human-derived pancreatic cancer cell line. It is broadly applied in cancer studies. Researchers mainly employ these cells to study the biology of pancreatic cancer, identify therapeutic targets, and develop anti-cancer drugs.

This article encompasses crucial information about the BxPC-3 cell line that can significantly help you work with it. Mainly, it will discuss:

  1. General information and origin of the BxPC-3 cell line
  2. Culturing of BxPC-3 cells
  3. BxPC-3 cell line: Advantages & Limitations
  4. Applications of BxPC-3 cells in research
  5. Research Publications on BxPC-3 Cells
  6. Resources for BxPC-3 Cell line: Protocols, Videos, and More

1. General information and origin of the BxPC-3 cell line

Knowing about the origin of a cell line is critical for its research applicability. Familiarity with its characteristics, including morphology, cell size, and ploidy, makes its use more straightforward and convenient. Herein, you will learn the origin and general attributes of BxPC-3 cells: What are BxPC-3 cells? What is the BxPC-3 cell line? What is the origin of the BxPC-3 cell line? What is the BxPC-3 morphology?

  • BxPC-3, human pancreatic carcinoma cells were derived from a 61-year-old European female with pancreatic adenocarcinoma in 1986. These cells were confirmed tumorigenic even after the patient underwent several radio- and chemotherapy sessions. Thus, the established cell line is an invaluable model to study cancer development and progression.
  • BxPC-3 cells possess an epithelial cell-like morphology.
  • The modal chromosome number for BxPC-3 is 59. These cells have a homozygous deletion at chromosome 18q, which encodes for SMAD4/DPC4 protein. Besides, the cell line lacks the BxPC-3 kras mutation common among pancreatic tumours. BxPC-3 braf deletion is also found in these pancreatic cancer cells.

What is the difference between BxPC3 and PANC-1?

BxPC-3 PADC (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma) and PANC-1 cells are primary pancreatic cancer cell lines with an epithelial morphology. Herein, former cells possess more epithelial-like properties, whereas later exhibit more mesenchymal attributes [1].

Movement, growth and division of cancer cells in cell culture.

2. Culturing of BxPC-3 cells

BxPC-3 cell line is widely used in cancer research laboratories. You need to know the following key points for efficient culturing of this pancreatic cancer cell line. You will learn: What is the doubling time for bxpc3? How do you culture the BxPC-3 cell line?

Key Points for Culturing BxPC-3 Cells

Population Doubling Time:

The doubling time of BxPC-3 cells ranges between 48 to 60 hours.

Adherent or in Suspension:

BxPC-3 is an adherent cell line.

Split ratio:

BxPC-3 cells are sub-cultivated at a ratio of 1:2 to 1:4. Cells are washed with 1 x PBS and incubated with a passaging solution called accutase. After 8-10 minutes, fresh media is added to the cells, and cells are centrifuged. The pellet is again resuspended in media, and cells are poured into a new culture vessel for growth.

Growth Medium:

RPMI 1640 media is used for culturing the BxPC-3 cell line. It is supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum, 2.1 mM stable Glutamine, and 2.0 g/L NaHCO3 to achieve ideal cell growth. Media should be replaced 2 to 3 times per week.

Growth Conditions:

BxPC-3 cell cultures are maintained in a 37 °C humidified incubator connected to a 5% CO2 supply.


Frozen cells are generally stored at below -150 °C temperature or in the vapour phase of liquid nitrogen to protect the viability of cells.

Freezing Process and Medium:

CM-1 or CM-ACF can be used to freeze BxPC-3 cell cultures. A slow freezing process that allows only a 1 °C drop in the temperature is followed to prevent cells from any shock.

Thawing Process:

Frozen BxPC-3 cells are thawed in a pre-set 37 °C water bath for 40 to 60 seconds. After a small ice clump is left, cells are added with fresh culture media and centrifuged to remove freezing media elements. Then, the cell pellet is resuspended, and cells are dispensed into the flask for growth.

Biosafety Level:

BxPC-3 cell cultures are maintained in biosafety level 1 laboratories.

Epithelial-like BxPC-3 cells growing as a monolayer in cell culture at 20x and 10x magnification.

3. BxPC-3 cell line: Advantages & Limitations

BxPC-3 is a well-known pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line associated with several advantages and limitations. The key advantages and drawbacks of the cell line are listed here.


The main advantages of BxPC-3 cells are:

  • In Vitro Model of Pancreatic Cancer

    BxPC-3 cells, derived from pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients, exhibit relevant characteristics, making them a suitable model for studying pancreatic cancer behavior in vitro.

  • Tumorigenic Cell Line

    BxPC-3 cells possess tumorigenic properties and can form tumors when injected into nude or immunocompromised mice. These tumors closely resemble primary pancreatic adenocarcinoma tumors, making the BxPC-3 xenograft model ideal for studying cancer growth and progression.



The limitations associated with BxPC-3 cell line are:

  • Cross Contamination

    The BxPC-3 cell line, like any other, carries a risk of cross-contamination. Researchers should exercise caution and adhere to strict contamination prevention protocols when handling these cells.

  • Slow Growth Rate

    BxPC-3 cells exhibit a relatively slow proliferation rate, with a doubling time spanning between 48 to 60 hours. This characteristic may require longer incubation periods for specific experiments, potentially causing delays in research progress.


4. Applications of BxPC-3 cells in research

BxPC-3 cells offer many applications in cancer research. The most common applications are:

  • Pancreatic cancer research: BxPC-3 cells imitate pancreatic adenocarcinoma and thus are used to explore the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying tumour development and growth. In addition, researchers uncover new biomarkers and therapeutic targets using these cells. Furthermore, BxPC-3 cells significantly express angiogenic factors, i.e., interleukin-8 (IL-8), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that make it suitable for studying angiogenesis. Herein, angiogenesis is a crucial process associated with cancer growth and metastasis. A study published in 2022 studied that laminin-5 gamma-2 (LAMC2) overexpression in BxPC3 PDAC (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma) enhances its tumorigenesis via regulating BxPC3 EGFR /ERK1/2/ AKT/ mTOR signalling pathway [2].
  • Drug discovery and development: BxPC-3 cell line serves as an invaluable anti-cancer drug testing model. Researchers examine potential drugs' cytotoxic, anti-metastatic, and apoptotic effects on BxPC3 PDAC. A study conducted by Alexandria Turner and colleagues in 2020 explored the apoptotic properties of Elaeocarpus reticulatus fruit extracts in BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells [3]. Similarly, research was carried out in 2020 that determined the anti-cancer potential of a methanolic extract of a plant called Oxialis obtriangulata in BxPC-3 cells. Besides, the researchers also studied the cell mechanistic route through which plant extract was exerting therapeutic effects [4].

5. Research Publications on BxPC-3 Cells

This section lists some of the most cited and interesting publications featuring the BxPC-3 cell line.

Licocoumarone induces BxPC-3 pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell death by inhibiting DYRK1A

This publication in Chemico-Biological Interactions (2020) explored the apoptotic effects of a natural product, licocoumarone, on BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells.

Hydroxychloroquine Promotes Bcl-xL Inhibition-induced Apoptosis in BxPC-3 Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells

This research article was published in Anticancer Research (2022). The study proposed that hydroxychloroquine causes BxPC3 cell death by inhibiting the BCL-XL gene.

Salidroside ameliorated hypoxia‐induced tumorigenesis of BxPC‐3 cells via downregulating hypoxia‐inducible factor (HIF)‐1α and LOXL2

This research was published in 2020 in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. The study states that a natural compound, salidroside, exhibits anti-cancer activities in BxPC-3 cells by regulating HIF-1α (hypoxia‐inducible factor) and LOXL2 signalling cascade.

The effect of ibrutinib on radiosensitivity in pancreatic cancer cells by targeting EGFR/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway

This article in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy suggests that ibrutinib can be used as a great radiosensitizer in pancreatic cancer patients. In vitro, study in BxPC-3 cells indicates that it decreases the BxPC3 EGFR phosphorylation and expression of pAKT and downstream genes upregulated by radiotherapy.

Chelidonine induces apoptosis via GADD45a-p53 regulation in human pancreatic cancer cells

This study in Integrative Cancer Therapies proposed that a natural product, chelidonine, exerts apoptotic activity in human pancreatic cells BxPC-3 via regulating BxPC3 p53 and GADD45a signalling.

6. Resources for BxPC-3 Cell line: Protocols, Videos, and More

BxPC-3 cell line has many captivating advantages that make it suitable for research use. Many online resources on the BxPC-3 cell line mention its handling, maintenance, and transfection protocols.

  • BxPC3 transfection: This video is a step-by-step guide to learning transfection protocol for BxPC-3 cells.

This section of the article comprises some links explaining BxPC3 cell culture protocols.

  • BxPC3 cell culture: This website will help you learn protocols for the subculturing and handling cryopreserved and proliferative BxPC-3 cultures.


  1. Kim, Y., et al., Comparative proteomic profiling of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cell lines. Mol Cells, 2014. 37(12): p. 888-98.
  2. Kirtonia, A., et al., Overexpression of laminin-5 gamma-2 promotes tumorigenesis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma through EGFR/ERK1/2/AKT/mTOR cascade. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2022. 79(7): p. 362.
  3. Turner, A., et al., Elaeocarpus reticulatus fruit extracts reduce viability and induce apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells in vitro. Molecular biology reports, 2020. 47: p. 2073-2084.
  4. An, E.-J., et al., Anti-cancer potential of Oxialis obtriangulata in pancreatic cancer cell through regulation of the ERK/Src/STAT3-mediated pathway. Molecules, 2020. 25(10): p. 2301.


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