Genotype-phenotype relationships in a mouse model for human small-cell lung cancer.


Lung tumors are usually classified into small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) or non-SCLC (NSCLC) depending on their pathological and histological characteristics. SCLC is defined not only by its characteristic neuroendocrine differentiation, aggressiveness, and metastatic potential, but also by a specific set of genetic aberrations, including the loss of the tumor suppressor genes p53 and Rb1 and the amplification of any member of the Myc family of oncogenes. We have previously described a mouse model of SCLC by somatic conditional disruption of Trp53 and Rb1 genes that closely resembles the human condition. Based on the possibility to study early tumor lesions and to culture and subclone progressed tumors and metastases, we discuss here a strategy to define genotype-phenotype relationships that can explain the underlying biology of lung neuroendocrine tumors. We have found that tumors may be constituted by genetically variant cell populations, which might represent different progression stages. Interestingly, we observed L-myc amplification and Ascl-1 expression in those populations showing neuroendocrine differentiation. Non-neuroendocrine cell populations from the same tumors did not show L-myc amplification nor Ascl-1 expression. We propose that this genetic divergence can play a relevant role in the definition of some phenotypic characteristics like metastasis potential or chemoresistance.

More about this publication

Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology
  • Volume 70
  • Pages 225-32
  • Publication date 28-07-2006

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