Cell sensitivity assays: The MTT assay

Johan Van Meerloo, Gertjan J.L. Kaspers, Jacqueline Cloos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1677 Citations (Scopus)


The MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) assay is based on the conversion of MTT into formazan crystals by living cells, which determines mitochondrial activity. Since for most cell populations the total mitochondrial activity is related to the number of viable cells, this assay is broadly used to measure the in vitro cytotoxic effects of drugs on cell lines or primary patient cells. In this chapter the protocol of the assay is described including important considerations relevant for each step of the assay as well as its limitations and possible applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCancer Cell Culture
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781617790799
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • 3-[4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide
  • Cytotoxicity assay
  • Drug sensitivity assay
  • MTT
  • Viability assay


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