Calu-3: Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cell Line, Metastatic (Calu-03)


Calu-3: Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cell Line, Metastatic (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.

  • Express License: For internal research purposes by a for-profit entity: Fill out MSK’s Core Express License; see here for links to the online fillable Core Express License, as well as a PDF version. For detailed guidance on how to fill out this webform, see here. Please note:  In order to streamline and expedite the licensing of select MSK cell lines, the terms of this non-exclusive license are non-negotiable. This license is only available for select cell lines, including this one. Once this license has been executed by MSK, you will receive a signed copy and payment instructions; all payments up to $10,000 must be made by credit card.
  • Commercial License: Contact MSK’s Tangible Research Materials team at [email protected].
  • For non-licensing requests from academic-research institutions: Contact MSK’s Antibody & Bioresource Core Facility at [email protected]

Stage of Development

Ready to use