Journal Article

Induction of high incidence of mammary tumour in female Noble rats with a combination of 17β-oestradiol and testosterone

B. Xie, S.W. Tsao and Y.C. Wong

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 20, issue 6, pages 1069-1078
Published in print June 1999 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online June 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Induction of high incidence of mammary tumour in female Noble rats with a combination of 17β-oestradiol and testosterone

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second most frequent cause of cancer death in women. Despite extensive research, the precise mechanisms of breast carcinogenesis remain unclear. One of the reasons for this is due, at least in part, to a lack of a suitable animal model which can closely mimic the breast carcinogenesis in normal situations without using chemical carcinogens. We have developed an animal model of mammary gland carcinogenesis using a combination of oestradiol and testosterone, and succeeded in inducing a high percentage of female Noble rats to develop mammary cancer in a relatively short time (~6 months). The results showed that androgens might work as a promoter to shorten the latency time of mammary gland carcinogenesis. Histopathological examination revealed that hyperplasia and dysplasia were first observed 2 months after treatment, in situ carcinoma after 3 months, and fully developed carcinoma of various forms including cribriform, papillary and camedo types were observed from 5 to 6 months after hormone implantation. Animals implanted with oestrogen or testosterone alone also developed mammary cancers, though with a lower overall incidence than the two hormones combined. They ranged from well differentiated to poorly differentiated forms with predominantly infiltrating ductal carcinoma. We have also observed a case of secondary cancer in the uterus. In addition to the high incidence of carcinoma, there was also a peculiar unexplained ipsilateral correlation between the site of hormonal implantation and the location of tumours, and the highest incidence of carcinogenesis was found to be in thoracic mammary gland. The study showed that both oestrogens and androgens are important in mammary cancer development. The animal model would prove to be a useful model for analysis of the mechanism(s) of hormonal carcinogenesis.

Journal Article.  7723 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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