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Oncogene. 2001 Dec 6;20(56):8148-53.

Thymic hyperplasia and lung carcinomas in a line of mice transgenic for keratin 5-driven HPV16 E6/E7 oncogenes.

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Department of Physiopathology and Experimental Medicine, University of Siena, Via Aldo Moro, 53100 Siena, Italy.


Human Papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) is the cause of both benign lesions and ano-genital cancers. In HPV-associated cancers the transforming properties of the expressed viral E6 and E7 proteins have been revealed by a number of different assays. We have generated transgenic mice expressing HPV-16 E6/E7 genes under the control of the murine keratin 5 gene promoter, which should confer cell-type specific expression in the basal cells of squamous stratified epithelia. Transgenic mice developed thymic hyperplasia and lung neoplasia with 100% frequency, the thymus showing a size increase at 2 months and reaching the maximum dimension at 6 months, when lung carcinomas appeared. After this time the size of hyperplastic thymi decreased, while malignant formations invaded the mediastinal area. Hepatic metastasis could be also observed in some of the animals at the autopsy and death invariably occurred around 10-11 months of age.

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