A mouse model which can be used to identify oncogenic combinations that are associated with tumor development is presented online this week in Nature Methods.
Tumors arise from cells that accumulate a certain number of gene mutations. The particular combination of mutations will determine whether a tumor arises and how aggressive it is. To identify mutations that cooperatively induce cells to become cancerous, Robert Eferl and colleagues developed mice in which they could control the expression of random combinations of three mutated oncogenes in specific tissues. They called this model ‘Multi-Hit’.
By studying the tumors that arise in these animals, researchers can identify the oncogenic co-operativity that is associated with tumor development or a more aggressive tumor phenotype. The authors used the Multi-Hit model to study the role of three known mutations in lung cancer formation and invasiveness.