From Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention:
Stanley E Hooker, Leanne Woods-Burnham, Madhavi Bathina, Stacy M Lloyd, Priyatham Gorjala, Ranjana Mitra, Larisa Nonn, Kevin Sean Kimbro and Rick Kittles
Background: Given the scarcity of cell lines from underrepresented populations, it is imperative that genetic ancestry for these cell lines is characterized. Consequences of cell line mischaracterization include squandered resources and publication retractions. Methods: We calculated genetic ancestry proportions for 15 cell lines to assess the accuracy of previous race/ethnicity classification and determine previously unknown estimates. DNA was extracted from cell lines and genotyped for ancestry informative markers (AIMs) representing West African (WA), Native American (NA), and European (EUR) ancestry. Results: Of the cell lines tested, all previously classified as White/Caucasian were accurately described with mean EUR ancestry proportions of 97%. Cell lines previously classified as Black/African American were not always accurately described. … Most notably, the E006AA-hT prostate cancer cell line, classified as African American, was found to carry 92% EUR ancestry. We also determined the MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cell line carries 23% NA ancestry suggesting possible Afro-Hispanic/Latina ancestry. Conclusions: Our results suggest predominantly EUR ancestry for the White/Caucasian-designated cell lines, yet high variance in ancestry for the Black/African American-designated cell lines. Additionally, we revealed an extreme misclassification of the E006AA-hT cell line. Impact: Genetic ancestry estimates offer more sophisticated characterization leading to better contextualization of findings. Ancestry estimates should be provided for all cell lines to avoid erroneous conclusions in disparities literature.
I wonder whether it would be better to use black cell lines that are close to 100% or closer to the 80% black average found among African-Americans?