Scores of genetically engineered mice have been generated in the quest to understand mechanisms of breast cancer development and progression. More recently, there has been a growing trend for using such models for testing various therapeutic strategies and agents. The application of these mouse models for these purposes requires that they be characterized in ways that demonstrate they possess important similarities to human breast cancer. In particular, detailed comparisons of the features of the models to human breast cancer must include attention to the histological phenotypes, chromosomal and molecular alterations, and the predictive value of the models for preclinical testing. Whereas these models have become important tools for the study of breast cancer, the great majority of existing mouse mammary cancer models develop tumors that are estrogen receptor negative, with relatively few models demonstrating metastatic spread to the lungs, and none developing metastases to bone. This review focuses on recent studies using genomic approaches to further understand the oncogenic processes occurring in mouse models of mammary cancer and to compare these changes with those identified in human breast cancer. Gene expression profiling is being applied to help define pharmacological responses that occur in vivo. Detailed genomic analyses will provide important information for selecting models for specific experimental purposes, contribute to the understanding of oncogene-specific expression signatures and potential therapeutic targets, and further define mechanisms of chemoprevention and chemotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research