Lentivirus-mediated oncogene introduction into mammary cells in vivo induces tumors

Neoplasia. 2008 Jul;10(7):653-62, 1 p following 662. doi: 10.1593/neo.08266.


We recently reported the introduction of oncogene-expressing avian retroviruses into somatic mammary cells in mice susceptible to infection by transgenic expression of tva, encoding the receptor for subgroup A avian leukosis-sarcoma virus (ALSV). Because ALSV-based vectors poorly infect nondividing cells, they are inadequate for studying carcinogenesis initiated from nonproliferative cells (e.g., stem cells). Lentivirus pseudotyped with the envelope protein of ALSV infects nondividing TVA-producing cells in culture but has not previously been tested for introducing genes in vivo. Here, we demonstrate that these vectors infected mammary cells in vivo when injected into the mammary ductal lumen of mice expressing tva under the control of the keratin 19 promoter. Furthermore, intraductal injection of this lentiviral vector carrying the polyoma middle T antigen gene induced atypical ductal hyperplasia and ductal carcinoma in situ-like premalignant lesions in 30 days and palpable invasive tumors at a median latency of 3.3 months. Induced tumors were a mixed epithelial/myoepithelial histologic diagnosis, occasionally displayed squamous metaplasia, and were estrogen receptor-negative. This work demonstrates the first use of a lentiviral vector to introduce oncogenes for modeling cancer in mice, and this vector system may be especially suitable for introducing genetic alterations into quiescent cells in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alpharetrovirus / genetics
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming / genetics*
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Viral / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • HIV / genetics
  • Keratin-9 / genetics
  • Lentivirus / genetics*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / metabolism
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Oncogenes*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic


  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming
  • Keratin-9