Mouse models for cancer represent powerful tools to analyze the causal role of genetic alterations in cancer development. We have developed a novel mouse model that allows the focal activation of mutations in stratified epithelia. Using this system, we demonstrate that activation of an oncogenic K-rasG12D allele in the oral cavity of the mouse induces oral tumor formation. The lesions that develop in these mice are classified as benign squamous papillomas. Interestingly, these tumors exhibit changes in the expression pattern of keratins similar to those observed in human premalignant oral tumors, which are reflective of early stages of tumorigenesis. These results demonstrate a causal role for oncogenic K-ras in oral tumor development. The inducible nature of this model also makes it an ideal system to study cooperative interactions between mutations in oncogenes and/or tumor suppressor genes that are similar to those observed in human tumors. To our knowledge, this is the first reported inducible mouse model for oral cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research