Dissociation of epithelial and neuroendocrine carcinoma lineages in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate model of prostate cancer

Am J Pathol. 2008 Jan;172(1):236-46. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2008.070602. Epub 2007 Dec 21.


The transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model is widely used in prostate cancer research because of rapid tumor onset and progression. The transgenic mouse is on a C57BL/6 (B6) background and expresses SV40 T-antigen under the probasin promoter. The strong genetic component of susceptibility to prostate cancer in humans prompted us to investigate the effect of mouse strain background (FVB and B6) on incidence, progression, and pathology of prostate cancer in this model. Because TRAMP lesions are unique but differ from conventional prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia because the epithelium and stroma are affected diffusely, we designated them as "atypical hyperplasia of Tag." Although the incidence and severity of atypical hyperplasia of Tag is similar, FVB-TRAMP mice live significantly shorter lives than B6-TRAMP mice because of the rapid development and progression of neuroendocrine carcinomas. This is associated with an increased frequency of neuroendocrine precursor lesions in young TRAMP mice, detectable at 4 weeks after birth. These lesions show properties of bipotential stem cells and co-express markers of epithelial (E-cadherin) and neuroendocrine (synaptophysin) lineages, as well as the transcription factors Foxa1 and Foxa2. Transplantation studies using TRAMP prostatic ducts suggested that neuroendocrine carcinomas arise independently from atypical hyperplasias or other epithelial lesions. Adenocarcinomas were not seen in our cohort. Thus, neuroendocrine carcinomas are the principal malignancy in this model and may develop from bipotential progenitor cells at an early stage of prostate tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transgenes