An inducible mouse model of colon carcinogenesis for the analysis of sporadic and inflammation-driven tumor progression

Nat Protoc. 2007;2(8):1998-2004. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2007.279.


Colorectal cancer is a life-threatening disease that can develop spontaneously or as a complication of inflammatory bowel diseases. Mouse models are essential tools for the preclinical testing of novel therapeutic options in vivo. Here, we provide a highly reliable protocol for an experimental mouse model to study the development of colon cancers. It is based on the mutagenic agent azoxymethane (AOM), which exerts colonotropic carcinogenicity. Repeated intraperitoneal administration of AOM results in the development of spontaneous tumors within 30 weeks. As an alternative option, inflammation-dependent tumor growth can be investigated by combining the administration of AOM with the inflammatory agent dextran sodium sulfate in drinking water, which causes rapid growth of multiple colon tumors per mouse within 10 weeks. Different scoring systems including number of tumors and tumor size identify factors promoting or inhibiting tumor initiation and/or tumor progression, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azoxymethane / chemistry
  • Carcinogens / chemistry
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Disease Progression
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Mice*
  • Mutagens / chemistry


  • Carcinogens
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Mutagens
  • Dextran Sulfate
  • Azoxymethane