Rat models of premalignant breast disease

J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2000 Oct;5(4):409-20. doi: 10.1023/a:1009582012493.


While a number of agents have been shown to induce mammary carcinogenesis in the rat, premalignant stages of the disease have been best characterized in chemically-induced models, specifically those initiated by either 7,12 dimethylbenz[alpha]anthracene (DMBA) or 1-methyl-1-nitrosourea (MNU). In general, it appears that epithelial cells in mammary terminal end buds or terminal ductules are the targets of carcinogenic initiation, and that a series of morphologically identifiable steps are involved in the development of mammary carcinoma. The premalignant steps include ductal hyperplasia of the usual type and carcinoma in situ of the cribriform or comedo type; atypical ductal hyperplasia has not been reported. Thus the histogenesis of lesions occurring in chemically induced mammary carcinogenesis in the rat is similar to that observed in the human; although, the spectrum of lesions observed in the rat is limited. Opportunities to investigate the biological and molecular characteristics of premalignant breast disease in the rat are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinogens
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / chemically induced*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / pathology*
  • Methylnitrosourea
  • Precancerous Conditions
  • Rats


  • Carcinogens
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Methylnitrosourea