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Mouse models of human breast cancer: evolution or convolution?

The remarkable generation of scores of increasingly sophisticated mouse models of mammary cancer over the past two decades has provided tremendous insights into molecular derangements that can lead to cancer. The relationships of these models to human breast cancer, however, remain problematic. Recent advances in genomic technologies offer significant opportunities to identify critical changes that occur during cancer evolution and to distinguish in a complex and comprehensive manner the key similarities and differences between mouse models and human cancer. Comparisons between mouse and human tumors are being performed using comparative genomic hybridization, gene expression profiling, and proteomic analyses. The appropriate use of genetically engineered mouse models of mammary cancer in preclinical studies remains an important challenge which may also be aided by genomic technologies. Genomic approaches to cancer are generating huge datasets that represent a complex system of underlying networks of genetic interactions. Mouse models offer a tremendous opportunity to identify such networks and how they relate to human cancer. The challenge of the future remains to decipher these networks in order to identify the genetic nodes of oncogenesis that may be important targets for chemoprevention and therapy.

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Green, J. Mouse models of human breast cancer: evolution or convolution?. Breast Cancer Res 5 (Suppl 1), 1 (2003).

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