Hormonal and dietary modulation of mammary carcinogenesis in mouse mammary tumor virus-c-erbB-2 transgenic mice

Xiao He Yang, Susan M. Edgerton, Stanley D. Kosanke, Terza L. Mason, Kathy M. Alvarez, Naxin Liu, Robert T. Chatterton, Bolin Liu, Qi Wang, Aeree Kim, Satya Murthy, Ann D. Thor

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59 Citations (Scopus)


Exogenous and dietary estrogens have been associated with modification of breast cancer risk. Mammary cancer model systems can be used to explore interactions between specific transgenes, and hormonal and dietary factors. Transgenic mice bearing the rat wild-type erbB-2 gene were used to study the effects of short-term hormonal exposure [17β-estradiol (E2) or tamoxifen] or a soy meal diet on mammary carcinogenesis. In mice fed a casein diet, mammary tumors developed at an earlier age after short-term E2 exposure during the early reproductive period. The median mammary tumor latency was shortest (29 weeks) for the high-dose estrogen as compared with the lowest dose of E2 treated or placebo control mice (33 and 37 weeks, respectively). The timing of short-term E2 exposure was also important, with the most significant changes observed in mice exposed to E2 between 8 and 18 weeks of age. E2 exposure was associated with the subsequent development of more aggressive tumors as determined by histologic grade, multifocal tumor development, stromal invasion, and pulmonary metastasis. In contrast, short-term tamoxifen-exposed mice generally failed to develop mammary tumors by 60 weeks of age. Mice fed a soy meal diet developed mammary tumors at a later age than casein-fed animals treated with E2 or placebo, whereas no differences were observed by diet for the tamoxifen-treated mice. Mammary tumor prevention was >80% in tamoxifen-treated mice on either diet. Novel histologic tumor types were identified, suggesting greater phenotypic diversity than described previously. Benign mammary gland morphogenesis was also significantly altered by short-term hormonal exposure or dietary factors, consistent with the modification of mammary tumor risk in specific treatment groups. Estrogenic modulation of the mammary tumor phenotype in wild-type erbB-2 transgenic mice was observed. Histologic tumor types and clinical aggressivity not reported previously in this transgenic model were noted, suggesting greater biologic heterogeneity than reported previously. In addition, dietary phytoestrogens modified mammary development and tumor latency, suggesting a need for greater stringency in dietary assignment for transgenic mouse models of mammary neoplasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2425-2433
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2003 May 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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