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Toxicol Pathol. 2006;34(6):699-707.

Precancer in mice: animal models used to understand, prevent, and treat human precancers.

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The UCD Center for Comparative Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA.


We present a status report from the NCI Mouse Models of Human Cancers Consortium (MMHCC) Precancers Workshop held November 8 and 9, 2004. An expert panel, the Mouse Models Group (MMG) evaluated the status of mouse models of precancer emphasizing genetically engineered mouse models, especially of lining epithelium and their utilitarian value to human carcinogenesis. An outline of the background for the panel's considerations is provided with examples of past and current precancerous lesions in mice. The experimental use of oncogenic viruses and chemical carcinogens in mice led to operational definitions of initiation, promotion, and preneoplasia Preneoplastic and precancerous lesions are found in these models. In this precancer concept, most preneoplastic lesions are considered as potentially precancerous or at least an earlier stage in cancer development than typical pre-invasive epithelial lesions, which are often seen in these mouse models. Genetically engineered mice, used to test the oncogenicity of individual genes, develop precancers that are initiated by defined molecular and histopathologic changes. The mouse can be used to isolate and study precancers in detail, thereby providing a level of biological understanding not readily available in clinical disease. These studies suggest that genetically engineered mice are very useful preclinical models for chemoprevention and therapy.

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