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Endocr Relat Cancer. 2004 Jun;11(2):225-54.

Genetically defined mouse models that mimic natural aspects of human prostate cancer development.

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Department of Pathology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.


This review is focused on mouse models for prostate cancer that have been designed on the basis of genetic alterations that are frequently found in human prostate cancer. It begins with an analysis of the similarities and differences in the gross and microscopic anatomy of the mouse and human prostate glands, and extends to the pathologies induced in the genetically manipulated mouse prostate in comparison with the sporadic development of the disease in humans. Major achievements have been made in modeling human prostate cancer in mice in recent years. There are models which display slow, temporal development of increasingly severe preneoplastic lesions, which are remarkably restricted to the prostate gland, a property similar to the aging-related progression of these lesions in humans. Other models rapidly progress to local invasive adenocarcinoma, and, in some of them metastasis is manifested subsequently with defined kinetics. Global assessment of molecular changes in the prostate of the genetically manipulated mice is increasingly underscoring the validity of the models through identification of 'signature' genes which are associated with the organ-confined primary or distant metastases of human prostate cancer. Taken together, various 'natural' models depicting stages of the disease, ranging from the early preneoplastic lesions to metastatic prostate cancer, now provide new tools both for exploring the molecular mechanism underlying prostate cancer and for development or testing of new targeted therapies.

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