Mouse models for radiation-induced cancers

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Abstract

Potential ionising radiation exposure scenarios are varied, but all bring risks beyond the simple issues of short-term survival. Whether accidentally exposed to a single, whole-body dose in an act of terrorism or purposefully exposed to fractionated doses as part of a therapeutic regimen, radiation exposure carries the consequence of elevated cancer risk. The long-term impact of both intentional and unintentional exposure could potentially be mitigated by treatments specifically developed to limit the mutations and precancerous replication that ensue in the wake of irradiation The development of such agents would undoubtedly require a substantial degree of in vitro testing, but in order to accurately recapitulate the complex process of radiation-induced carcinogenesis, well-understood animal models are necessary. Inbred strains of the laboratory mouse, Mus musculus, present the most logical choice due to the high number of molecular and physiological similarities they share with humans. Their small size, high rate of breeding and fully sequenced genome further increase its value for use in cancer research. This chapter will review relevant m. musculus inbred and F1 hybrid animals of radiation-induced myeloid leukemia, thymic lymphoma, breast and lung cancers. Method of cancer induction and associated molecular pathologies will also be described for each model.

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