Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 7–20 | Cite as

Experimentally induced mammary tumors in rats

  • Jose Russo
  • Irma H. Russo
The rodent mammary gland in experimental carcinogenesis


Among the multiple experimental animal models employed for analyzing the various aspects of mammary carcinogenesis, the induction of mammary tumors in rats by chemical carcinogens is one of the models most utilized. Experimentally-induced mammary tumors in rodents have proven to constitute useful tools for the study of the pathogenesis of cancer and of the molecular mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of the neoplastic process. In vivo experimental animal models provide information not available in human populations; they are adequate for hazard identification, dose-response modeling, exposure assessment, and risk characterization, the four required steps for quantifying the estimated risk of cancer development associated with toxic chemical exposure. Using the DMBA rat mammary model, we have been able to demonstrate that the carcinogen acts on the intermediate cell of the terminal end bud (TEB), and that this structure is the one that evolves to intraductal proliferation, carcinoma in situ, and invasive carcinoma. There are several factors that regulate the susceptibility of the TEB; some of them are: a) topographic location of the mammary gland, b) age of the animal, and c) reproductive history. The understanding of the mechanisms that modulate tumorigenesis will further our knowledge and understanding in the prevention of the disease, as a result of the development of strategies for stopping the progression of the initiated cells.

Key words

animal models carcinogens DMBA-induced rat mammary tumors terminal end buds tumor evolution 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jose Russo
    • 1
  • Irma H. Russo
    • 1
  1. 1.Breast Cancer Research LaboratoryFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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