Cancer science

Occurrence of mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene in X-ray-induced rat lung tumors.

PMID 18271921


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene alterations have been found in human lung cancers. However, there is no information on the factors inducing EGFR mutations. In rodents, K-ras mutations are frequently found in many lung carcinogenesis models, but hitherto, Egfr mutations have not been reported. Their presence was therefore investigated in representative lung carcinogenesis models with 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), N-nitrosobis(2-hydroxypropyl)amine (BHP), 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx) and ethyl carbamate (urethane), as well as X-ray irradiation. With the chemical carcinogenesis models, no mutations were detected in Egfr, which is in clear contrast to the high rates observed in either codon 12 or 61 of K-ras (21/23 of the lung tumors induced with NNK, 4/5 with MeIQx, 1/4 with urethane and 7/18 with BHP). However, in the X-ray-induced lung tumors, Egfr mutations with amino acid substitution were observed in exons 18 and 21 (4/12, 33%), but no activating mutation of K-ras was detected. In addition, one and four silent mutations were identified in K-ras (exon 1) and Egfr (exons 18, 20 and 21), respectively. Most mutations in both Egfr and K-ras were G/C-->A/T transitions (7/8, 88% and 31/34, 91%, respectively). Although, the mutational patterns in equivalent human lesions were not completely coincident, this first report of Egfr mutations in an experimental lung tumor model suggests that X-rays or other factors producing oxygen radicals could cause EGFR mutations in some proportion of lung cancers in humans.