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Princess Takamatsu Symp. 1991;22:97-108.

Functional loss of tumour suppressor genes in multistage chemical carcinogenesis.

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CRC Beatson Laboratories, Glasgow, Scotland.


Studies of multistage carcinogenesis in mouse skin have provided many of the early concepts of tumour initiation, promotion and progression. Genetic approaches have led to the identification of a number of mutational alterations in proto-oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes which take place at specific stages of carcinogenesis in this particular system. Initiation involves, at least in a proportion of tumours, mutational activation of the cellular H-ras proto-oncogene. Trisomy of chromosome 7, which develops during the premalignant clonal expansion phase, possibly as a consequence of tumour promoter treatment, is followed by further alterations on chromosome 7 which lead to a relative increase in the expression of mutant ras alleles. The p53 tumour suppressor gene undergoes mutational alteration and loss of heterozygosity in a proportion of squamous carcinomas but this particular gene does not appear to be involved in the further transition of squamous carcinomas to highly undifferentiated spindle cell tumours. The latter transition appears to be a recessive event which can be complemented by fusion with cells at earlier stages of malignancy. Mouse skin carcinogenesis therefore continues to provide invaluable information on the nature of the genetic and biological transitions which occur during the step-wise progression of normal cells to malignancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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