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Cell Growth & Differentiation, Vol 6, Issue 6 737-748, Copyright © 1995 by American Association of Cancer Research


ARTICLES

Synergistic interaction of transforming growth factor alpha and c-myc in mouse mammary and salivary gland tumorigenesis

LT Amundadottir, MD Johnson, G Merlino, GH Smith and RB Dickson
Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20007, USA.

The c-myc oncogene is commonly amplified in breast cancer and is known to interact synergistically with transforming growth factor alpha (TGF alpha) in vitro to promote phenotypic transformation of mammary epithelial cells. In addition, both genes are under sex steroid hormone regulation in breast cancer. We have used a bitransgenic mouse approach to test the relevance of Myc-TGF alpha interaction in mammary gland tumorigenesis of virgin animals in vivo. We mated single transgenic TGF alpha and c-myc mouse strains to yield double transgenic offspring for TGF alpha and c-myc. All (20 of 20) double transgenic TGF alpha/c-myc animals developed synchronous mammary tumors at a mean age of 66 days. An unexpected finding was that tumor latency and frequency in males and virgin females were identical. Thus, two gene products that are known to be coinduced in breast cancer by the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone strongly synergize to induce synchronous mammary tumors, independent of sex. The tumors, despite being estrogen receptor positive, were readily transplanted as highly malignant s.c. cancers in ovariectomized nude mice. Although approximately one-half of single transgenic c-myc virgin females also eventually developed mammary gland tumors, these were stochastic and arose after a long latency period of 9-12 months. Single transgenic virgin TGF alpha females and males, c-myc males, and transgene-negative littermates did not develop tumors (ages up to 15 months). The salivary glands of double transgenic animals also coexpress the two transgenes and show pathological abnormalities ranging from hyperplasias to frank adenocarcinomas. In contrast, the salivary glands of single transgenic and wild-type animals showed only mild hyperplasias or metaplasias, but tumors were not observed. In situ hybridization analysis of mammary and salivary glands revealed that hyperplastic and tumorous areas colocalize with regions that overexpress both the TGF alpha and c-myc transgenes. This indicates that there is a requirement for the presence of both proteins for transformation of these glands. In summary, TGF alpha and c-Myc synergize in an extremely powerful way to cause breast and salivary gland tumorigenesis in males and virgin females without a requirement for pregnancies.


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HOME HELP FEEDBACK SUBSCRIPTIONS ARCHIVE SEARCH TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cancer Research Clinical Cancer Research
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Molecular Cancer Research Cell Growth & Differentiation
Copyright © 1995 by the American Association of Cancer Research.