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Cancer. 1985 Dec 1;56(11):2627-34.

Steroid receptors in dimethylhydrazine-induced colon carcinogenesis.


To investigate whether gonadal hormones are involved in the tumorigenesis of dimethylhydrazine (DMH)-induced colonic neoplasms, the authors measured steroid receptors in the neoplasms. 30- or 60-day-old BD-IX rats were injected with 20 mg of 1,2-DMH per kg of body weight once a week for 20 weeks. Fifty-seven rats were sacrificed at 40 to 45 weeks after the initial injection. Androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor (ER), and progesterone receptor (PR) were measured in colonic neoplasms. The total number of colonic neoplasms was 274 among 57 rats, 65.8% in male rats and 34.2% in female rats. The mean number of colonic neoplasms per rat was higher in male rats, i.e., 5.6, compared with 3.5 in female rats. A slightly higher number of colonic neoplasms per rat was seen in the rats that had the initial injection at 30 days of age. The number of large colonic neoplasms with a diameter of more than 1 cm was 77 (28.1%), 74% of which were seen in male rats. Thus, a higher incidence of tumors that were also larger were seen in male rats. Histologic findings showed that 53.6% of the neoplasms were carcinomas. The highest incidence of colonic neoplasms was in the distal colon in both sexes. Most of the well-differentiated adenocarcinoma were seen in the distal colon (82.2%), whereas mucinous carcinoma and undifferentiated adenocarcinoma were prominent in the proximal colon or cecum (56.1%). In rats with a normal colon, low levels of AR and PR were determined; but ER was not found in any regions of the colon. In DMH-induced colonic cancer, the incidence as well as the concentration was higher in male rats (60.6%, 16.9 +/- 3.6 fm/mg protein), compared with female rats (40.0%, 4.6 +/- 0.8 fm/mg protein). Similar incidences and levels of ER and PR were seen in both sexes. There was no relationship between steroid receptors and histologic findings in colonic neoplasms. These results suggest that the gonadal hormones, especially androgens, appear to be involved in DMH-induced colon tumorigenesis in male rats.

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