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Nature. 1984 Feb 16-22;307(5952):658-60.

Activation of the mouse cellular Harvey-ras gene in chemically induced benign skin papillomas.


An important feature of the development of many human and animal tumours is the appearance of pre-malignant benign lesions, some of which undergo further changes during progression to malignancy. Many of the currently accepted concepts of multi-stage carcinogenesis have been developed using an experimental model based on the chemical induction of tumours in mouse skin. In this system, many of the premalignant papillomas which arise are promoter-dependent, and appear to regress if promoter treatment is interrupted, whereas others progress to form autonomous benign lesions and, in some cases, malignant carcinomas. Although the number and nature of the events leading to malignancy are not known, DNA transfection experiments have led to the identification of several genes which may be qualitatively altered in tumour cells (see ref. 6 for review). We have previously shown that DNA from transplantable mouse skin carcinomas induced by chemical carcinogens has the ability to transform NIH/3T3 cells, and that the gene responsible for the transformation is an activated form of the mouse cellular Harvey-ras gene (c-rasH). We have now investigated the stage of carcinogenesis at which the proto-oncogene acquires transforming activity. We demonstrate that primary papillomas induced by chemical carcinogens in two different mouse strains have an activated c-rasH gene. This constitutes the first report of a benign tumour which contains DNA with detectable transforming activity. In addition, steady-state levels of c-rasH gene transcripts are elevated in the papillomas as compared with normal epidermis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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