Calu-3: Human Lung Cancer Cell Line (Calu-03)



Calu-3 is a non-small-cell lung cancer cell line that grows in adherent culture and displays epithelial morphology. These cells have constitutively active ErbB2/Her2 due to amplification of the ERBB2 gene. They express wildtype EGFR and mutant K-Ras (G13D). In addition, they harbor mutations in TP53 and CDKN2A genes. The Calu-3 cells are sensitive to erlotinib (EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor) and cetuximab (a monoclonal antibody that blocks ligand binding to EGFR and prevents downstream signaling), two commonly used drugs targeting ErbB receptors. These cells are capable of forming tumors in immunocompromised mice.


This cell line was established in 1975 from a metastatic site (pleural effusion) in a 25-year-old Caucasian male with adenocarcinoma of the lung.


  • Germain Trempe, formerly at Sloan Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Jorgen Fogh, PhD, formerly at Sloan Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering

Key References

  • Fogh J et al. (1977) One hundred and twenty-seven cultured human tumor cell lines producing tumors in nude mice. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 59: 221-226 (PubMed ID: 327080)
  • Cavazzoni A et al. (2012) Combined use of anti-ErbB monoclonal antibodies and erlotinib enhances antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity of wild-type erlotinib-sensitive NSCLC cell lines. Molecular Cancer 11: 91 (PubMed ID: 23234355)
  • Blanco R et al. (2009) A gene-alteration profile of human lung cancer cell lines. Human Mutation 30: 1199–1206 (PubMed ID: 19472407)

Licensing Information

This cell line may be licensed nonexclusively for research or commercial purposes.

Contact Information

  • For licensing requests: please contact [email protected].
  • For non-licensing requests from academic-research institutions: Frances Weis-Garcia, PhD, Associate Laboratory Member/Head, Antibody & Bioresource Core Facility, MSK, 646-888-2354, [email protected]

Stage of Development

Ready to use