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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Oral cavity and esophageal carcinogenesis modeled in carcinogen-treated mice.

PURPOSE: Squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity is one of the most common human neoplasms, and prevention of these carcinomas requires a better understanding of the carcinogenesis process and a model system in which cancer chemoprevention agents can be tested. We have developed a mouse model using the carcinogen 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4-NQO) in the drinking water to induce tumorigenesis in the mouse oral cavity. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: 4-NQO was delivered by tongue painting or drinking water to two mouse strains, CBA and C57Bl/6. The incidences of oral cavity carcinogenesis were then compared. In addition, we examined the expression of some of the molecular markers associated with the process of human oral cavity and esophageal carcinogenesis, such as keratin (K) 1, K14, p16, and epidermal growth factor receptor, by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: After treatment with 4-NQO in the drinking water, massive tumors were observed on the tongues of both CBA and C57Bl/6 female mice. Pathological analyses indicated that flat squamous dysplasias, exophytic papillary squamous tumors (papillomas), and invasive squamous cell carcinomas were present. Immunohistochemistry analyses showed that 4-NQO changed the expression patterns of the intermediate filament proteins K14 and K1. K14 was expressed in the epithelial suprabasal layers, in addition to the basal layer, in tongues from carcinogen-treated animals. In contrast, control animals expressed K14 only in the basal layer. Moreover, we observed more bromodeoxyuridine staining in the tongue epithelia of 4-NQO-treated mice. Reduced expression of the cell cycle inhibitor, p16, was observed, whereas 4-NQO treatment caused an increase in epidermal growth factor receptor expression in the mouse tongues. Interestingly, similar features of carcinogenesis, including multiple, large (up to 0.5 cm) exophytic papillary squamous tumors and invasive squamous cell carcinomas, increased bromodeoxyuridine staining, and increased K14 expression, were also observed in the esophagi of 4-NQO-treated mice. However, no tumors were observed in the remainder of digestive tract (including the forestomach, intestine, and colon) or in the lungs or livers of 4-NQO-treated mice. These results indicate that this murine 4-NQO-induced oral and esophageal carcinogenesis model simulates many aspects of human oral cavity and esophageal carcinogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: The availability of this mouse model should permit analysis of oral cavity and esophageal cancer development in various mutant and transgenic mouse strains. This model will also allow testing of cancer chemopreventive drugs in various transgenic mouse strains.[1]


  1. Oral cavity and esophageal carcinogenesis modeled in carcinogen-treated mice. Tang, X.H., Knudsen, B., Bemis, D., Tickoo, S., Gudas, L.J. Clin. Cancer Res. (2004) [Pubmed]
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