Cell Line Research Retractions

Retractions caused by inadequately  authenticated cell lines are costly and frustrating…

As the scope of research methods has grown to include the use of cell lines, numerous retractions have been published due to contaminated or misidentified cell lines. Cell line authentication is a critical component of the research process needed to prevent these errors. In order to avoid costly and embarrassing retractions, many journals are now enforcing a policy of requiring cell line authentication.


nature methods logo

A 2010 Nature Methods paper by Radovanovic et. al. was retracted after contaminants were discovered in the primary gliomasphere lines. The original paper may be viewed here. The full article addressing the paper’s   retraction may be viewed here, on Nature Method’s blog.

D. Evanko. (2013, September 9). A retraction resulting from cell line contamination. Retrieved from: http://blogs.nature.com/methagora/2013/09/retraction_resulting_from_cell_line_contamination.html


A 2012 article by Jun Jia et. al. regarding adenoid cystic carcinoma was retracted after it was discovered that the cell lines used had been cross-contaminated.This retraction statement was issued by PLoS ONE.

Jia J, Zhang W, Liu J-Y, Chen G, Liu H, et al. (2012) Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition Is Required for Acquisition of Anoikis Resistance and Metastatic Potential in Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51549 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051549.

Oral Oncology

Chengzhong Cai et. al.’s paper, published online in 2011 by Oral Oncology, was retracted because the research as not valid for a head or neck cancer, the only cancer types covered by the journal. The cell line used in the study was cross-contaminated with HeLa.

RETRACTED: Nef from SIVmac239 decreases proliferation and migration of adenoid-cystic carcinoma cells and inhibits angiogenesis
Cai, Chengzhong et al.
Oral Oncology , Volume 47 , Issue 9 , 847 – 854


This 2013 paper from Nature was retracted in 2015, after further investigation, it was discovered that the cell lines “cannot be those specified”(Nature, 2015).

Retraction:HMGA2 functions as a competing endogenous RNA to promote lung cancer progression. Kumar, M., S., et. al. Nature. Nature 523, 370 (16 July 2015) doi:10.1038/nature14551. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v523/n7560/full/


This 2013 paper was retracted after questions were raised about the integrity of the cell lines used.

Gao L, Wu G-j, Liu B, Shen M-z, Pan T-j, Yu C-g, et al. (2014) Retraction: Up-Regulation of pVHL along with Down-Regulation of HIF-1α by NDRG2 Expression Attenuates Proliferation and Invasion in Renal Cancer Cells. PLoS ONE 9(4): e95904.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095904

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