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New Model for Salivary Gland Tumors

May 11, 2006

Cancer of the salivary glands is rare but collectively comprise the most heterogenous group of tumors in any organ of the body.  This diversity makes the salivary glands a particularly interesting site to look for mechanistic clues in the broader fight against cancer.  In the May issue of the American Journal of Pathology, NIDCR scientists report they have developed a novel mouse model that induces extremely interesting precancerous lesions and carcinomas of the salivary glands.  The mouse model builds on the group’s previously reported observation that salivary glands express a type of intermediate keratin called cytokeratin 5 in the ductal epithelia.  The group found that when they applied a chemical promoter to salivary gland cells that prompts the expression of both the cytokeratin 5 gene and a mutated K-ras gene, an oncogene long linked to cancer, every mouse produced precancerous lesions and carcinomas in as short as one week.  When the promoter was targeted to a specifically sensitive cell compartment within the salivary glands, it triggered full cancer.

   

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This page last updated: March 24, 2014