Genetically engineered mouse models of human breast cancer
- RA Jensen1
© BioMed Central 2002
Published: 1 October 2003
This presentation will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of currently available mouse models for mammary cancer. The major underlying premise is that we cannot understand, investigate, and hopefully cure breast cancer without animal models and that for a variety of biological, scientific, economic, and ethical reasons rodents represent the best available model systems for mammary cancer. This being said, how accurately do rodent models reflect the human condition and what are the characteristics of an ideal model system? Do they reflect the molecular complexity and stochastic nature of human breast cancer and do they represent an appropriate format for testing of newly developed agents that specifically interact with designated molecular targets? In addition, a case will be made for understanding the natural history of mammary cancer following treatment and that too often the development of a tumor is seen as an endpoint and not as a beginning. Finally, it is clear that we have a very poor understanding of precursor lesions in rodents and it will be critical to understand how these relate to fully developed malignant tumors before the full potential of these models can be realized.