Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Animal cancer models reduce genetic background heterogeneity and thus, may facilitate identification and analysis of specific genetic aberrations in tumor cells. Rat and human mammary glands have high similarity in physiology and show comparable hormone responsiveness. Thus, spontaneous and carcinogen (e.g., NMU and DMBA)-induced rat mammary models are valuable tools for genetic studies of breast cancer. In NMU-induced rat mammary tumors, activating mutations in Hras codon 12 have frequently been reported and are supposed to contribute to the mammary carcinogenic process. Involvement of Ras mutations in DMBA-induced tumors is less clear. In the present study we investigated the mutation status of the three Ras genes, Hras, Kras, and Nras, in DMBA-induced rat mammary tumors. We examined codons 12, 13, and 61 of all three genes for mutations in 71 tumors using direct sequencing method that in experimental conditions is sensitive enough to detect single nucleotide mutations even when present in only 25% of the test sample. No activating Ras gene mutation was found. Thus, in contrast to NMU-induced rat mammary tumor, tumorigenesis in DMBA-induced rat mammary tumors seems to be independent on activating mutations in the Ras genes. Our finding suggests that the genetic pathways selected in mammary tumor development are influenced by and perhaps dependent on the identity of the inducing agent, again emphasizing the importance of tumor etiology on the genetic changes in the tumor cells.