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Cancer Res. 1988 Jun 1;48(11):3253-7.

Sequential development of aneuploidy, keratin modifications, and gamma-glutamyltransferase expression in mouse skin papillomas.

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  • 1University of Texas System Cancer Center, Research Division, Smithville 78957.


To elucidate the role and timing of expression of different premalignant and malignant markers in tumor promotion, we correlated alterations in keratin patterns and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) expression with the chromosomal status of individual mouse skin papillomas. Papillomas were induced by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene initiation and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate promotion. Individual tumors were randomly sampled at 20 and 35 weeks of promotion. Each tumor was cytogenetically analyzed and serial paraffin sections were used for GGT detection, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemistry studies. Monospecific antibodies elicited against keratins K1 (Mr 67,000) and K14 (Mr 55,000) were used to analyze keratin modifications. Most tumors at 20 weeks of promotion, although exhibiting aneuploidy, still presented high levels of the K1 differentiation-associated keratin. Later during promotion those tumors bearing the highest aneuploidy indexes were those that showed a marked decrease in or absence of the K1 protein. Furthermore, those same tumors with the highest levels of genomic alterations also exhibited foci of GGT activity. These results support the idea that the majority of papillomas under continuous promotion are progressing toward malignancy. Aneuploidy seems to precede detectable keratin modifications, and GGT activity appears to be the latest marker to be expressed.

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