Background: Pten functionally acts as a tumor suppressor gene. Lately, tissue-specific ablation of Pten gene in mice has elucidated the role of Pten in different tumor progression models. However, a temporally controlled Pten loss in all adult tissues to examine susceptibility of various tissues to Pten-deficient tumorigenesis has not been addressed yet. Our goal was to explore the genesis of Pten-deficient malignancies in multiple tissue lineages of the adult mouse.
Methods and findings: We utilized an inducible Cre/loxP system to delete Pten exon 5 in the systemic organs of ROSA26 (R26)-CreER(T);Pten(fx/fx) mice. On reaching 45 weeks 4OHT-induced Pten loss, we found that the R26-CreER(T);Pten(fx/fx) mice developed a variety of malignancies. Overall tumor mean latency was 17 weeks in the Pten-deficient mice. Interestingly, mutant females developed malignancies more quickly at 10 approximately 11 weeks compared with a tumor latency of 21 weeks for mutant males. Lymphoma incidence (76.9% in females; 40.0% in males) was higher than the other malignancies found in the mutant mice. Mutant males developed prostate (20.0%), intestinal cancer (35.0%) and squamous cell carcinoma (10.0%), whereas the mutant females developed squamous cell carcinoma (15.4%) and endometrial cancer (46.1%) in addition to lymphomas. Furthermore, we tested the pharmacological inhibition of the PTEN downstream effectors using LY294002 on Pten-deficient prostate hyperplasia. Our data revealed that, indeed, the prostate hyperplasia resulting from the induced Pten loss was significantly suppressed by LY294002 (p = 0.007).
Conclusions: Through monitoring a variety of Pten-deficient tumor formation, our results revealed that the lymphoid lineages and the epithelium of the prostate, endometrium, intestine and epidermis are highly susceptible to tumorigenesis after the Pten gene is excised. Therefore, this R26-CreER(T); Pten(fx/fx) mouse model may provide an entry point for understanding the role of Pten in the tumorigenesis of different organs and extend the search for potential therapeutic approaches to prevent Pten-deficient malignancies.