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Oncogene. 2000 Feb 21;19(8):968-88.

The mammary pathology of genetically engineered mice: the consensus report and recommendations from the Annapolis meeting.

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U.C.D. Center for Comparative Medicine, County Road 98 and Hutchison Drive, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


NIH sponsored a meeting of medical and veterinary pathologists with mammary gland expertise in Annapolis in March 1999. Rapid development of mouse mammary models has accentuated the need for definitions of the mammary lesions in genetically engineered mice (GEM) and to assess their usefulness as models of human breast disease. The panel of nine pathologists independently reviewed material representing over 90% of the published systems. The GEM tumors were found to have: (1) phenotypes similar to those of non-GEM; (2) signature phenotypes specific to the transgene; and (3) some morphological similarities to the human disease. The current mouse mammary and human breast tumor classifications describe the majority of GEM lesions but unique morphologic lesions are found in many GEM. Since little information is available on the natural history of GEM lesions, a simple morphologic nomenclature is proposed that allows direct comparisons between models. Future progress requires rigorous application of guidelines covering pathologic examination of the mammary gland and the whole animal. Since the phenotype of the lesions is an essential component of their molecular pathology, funding agencies should adopt policies ensuring careful morphological evaluation of any funded research involving animal models. A pathologist should be part of each research team.

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