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Oncogene. 2011 Jan 27;30(4):389-97. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.447. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Loss of tumor progression locus 2 (tpl2) enhances tumorigenesis and inflammation in two-stage skin carcinogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, American University, Washington, DC, USA.


Tumor progression locus 2 (Tpl2) is a serine/threonine kinase in the mitogen-activated protein kinase signal transduction cascade known to regulate inflammatory pathways. Previously identified as an oncogene, its mutation or overexpression is reported in a variety of human cancers. To address its role in skin carcinogenesis, Tpl2(-/-) or wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice were subjected to a two-stage dimethylbenzanthracene/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) mouse skin carcinogenesis model. Tpl2(-/-) mice developed a significantly higher incidence of tumors (80%) than WT mice (17%), as well as a reduced tumor latency and a significantly higher number of total tumors (113 vs 6). Moreover, Tpl2(-/-) mice treated with TPA experienced significantly higher nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB) activation, edema, infiltrating neutrophils and production of proinflammatory cytokines than did WT mice. We investigated the role of the p38, JNK, MEK and NF-κB signaling pathways both in vitro and in vivo in WT and Tpl2(-/-) mice by using inhibitors for each of these pathways. We confirmed that the proinflammatory effect in Tpl2(-/-) mice was due to heightened activity of the NF-κB pathway. These studies indicate that Tpl2 may serve more as a tumor suppressor than as an oncogene in chemically induced skin carcinogenesis, with its absence contributing to both tumorigenesis and inflammation.

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