A spontaneous estrogen dependent, tamoxifen sensitive mouse mammary tumor: A new model system to study hormone-responsiveness in immune competent mice

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Currently, an in, vivo spontaneous model of estrogen dependent, tamoxifen sensitive breast cancer does not exist. We show here the characterization of the M05 mammary tumor that appeared spontaneously in a 1-year-old virgin female BALB/c mouse in our animal facility. The M05 tumor is a semi-differentiated adenocarcinoma that expresses estrogen and progesterone receptors. When it was transplanted to either male or ovariectomized female mice it did not grow. Moreover, ovariectomy or treatment with tamoxifen of tumor bearing mice led to a halt in tumor growth. Treatment of ovariectomized mice that had been inoculated with the M05 tumor showed that only estradiol, but not progesterone, promoted the re-growth of the tumor. Finally, after passage nine, tumor growth was achieved in male and ovariectomized female mice suggesting that the tumor had progressed to hormone independence. However, like often found in the clinic, expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors was maintained. This model mimics the biology of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer in humans and presents itself as an invaluable tool for the study of endocrine resistance in a physiologically relevant setting.

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