Molecular carcinogenesis

Frequent codon 12 Ki-ras mutations in mouse skin tumors initiated by N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine and promoted by mezerein.

PMID 10747294


The skin tumor initiators N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) differ in effectiveness when tumor formation is promoted by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Even at high doses, MNNG is less effective, producing fewer benign and malignant tumors with a longer latent period. In DMBA-initiated skin, 10 wk of TPA promotion produced a maximal tumor response. With MNNG, 20 wk of TPA promotion was required, producing nearly four times as many papillomas as 10 wk of promotion. Promotion of MNNG-initiated skin with mezerein induced the appearance of very rapidly-growing papillomas within 5 wk, 3 wk earlier than the first TPA-promoted papillomas. Thus, MNNG may induce a novel mutation resulting in a population of initiated cells that respond especially well to mezerein. Since ras mutations are common in experimental tumors in many tissues, we determined the frequency of activating mutations in the Ha-ras, Ki-ras, and N-ras oncogenes. Activating Ha-ras mutations were present in essentially all DMBA-initiated tumors and about 70% of MNNG-initiated tumors. No N-ras mutations were found in tumors lacking other ras mutations. Surprisingly, 41% of the papillomas arising in the first 11 wk in MNNG-initiated, mezerein-promoted mice bore mutations in codon 12 of the Ki-ras oncogene. Activating Ki-ras mutations were also found in more than 60% of squamous cell carcinomas and 40% of keratoacanthomas. Although mutations in Ha-ras are frequently detected in mouse skin tumors, mutations in Ki-ras are rare. This is the first report of mutated Ki-ras in skin tumors from mice initiated by MNNG.