Conditional expression of Ki-RasG12V in the mammary epithelium of transgenic mice induces estrogen receptor alpha (ERα)-positive adenocarcinoma

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Appropriate ‘in vivo' models are crucial for studying breast cancer biology and evaluating the efficacy of therapeutic agents. Thus we engineered a novel transgenic mouse line expressing the human Ki-Ras bearing an activating mutation (Ki-Ras(G12V)) selectively in the mammary epithelium after lactation. These mice develop invasive ductal adenocarcinomas with 100% incidence within 3-9 months after Ki-Ras(G12V) induction. Immunophenotyping revealed that the mammary tumors express luminal markers, are positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors, negative for HER2 and have a low proliferation index. Moreover, cell lines derived from such tumors are estrogen-responsive and, when transplanted into nude mice, form tumors that respond to the antiestrogen ICI 182780. In conclusion, the mammary tumors of these transgenic mice and the derived cell lines exhibit key features of the major form of human breast cancer, that is, luminal A subtype and thus have a high potential for breast cancer research and treatment.

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