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Germline mutations in RAD51C predispose to breast and ovarian cancers. However, the mechanism of RAD51C-mediated carcinogenesis is poorly understood. We previously reported a first-generation Rad51c-knock-out mouse model, in which a spontaneous loss of both Rad51c and Trp53 together resulted in a high incidence of sebaceous carcinomas, particularly in preputial glands. Here we describe a second-generation mouse model, in which Rad51c is deleted, alone or together with Trp53, in sebaceous glands, using Cre-mediated recombination. We demonstrate that deletion of Rad51c alone is not sufficient to drive tumourigenesis and may only cause keratinization of preputial sebocytes. However, deletion of Rad51c together with Trp53 leads to tumour development at around 6 months of age, compared to 11 months for single Trp53-mutant mice. Preputial glands of double-mutant mice are also characterized by increased levels of cell proliferation and DNA damage and form multiple hyperplasias, detectable as early as 2 months of age. Our results reveal a critical synergy between Rad51c and Trp53 in tumour progression and provide a predictable in vivo model system for studying mechanisms of Rad51c-mediated carcinogenesis. Copyright © 2014 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.