Pten is the most frequently mutated gene in uterine endometriod carcinoma (UEC) and its precursor complex atypical hyperplasia (CAH). Because the mutation frequency is similar in CAH and UEC, Pten mutations are thought to occur relatively early in endometrial tumorigenesis. Previous work from our laboratory using the Pten(+/-) mouse model has demonstrated somatic inactivation of the wild type allele of Pten in both CAH and UEC. In the present study, we injected adenoviruses expressing Cre into the uterine lumen of adult Pten floxed mice in an attempt to somatically delete both alleles of Pten specifically in the endometrium. Our results demonstrate that biallelic inactivation of Pten results in an increased incidence of carcinoma as compared to the Pten(+/-) mouse model. In addition, the carcinomas were more aggressive with extension beyond the uterus into adjacent tissues and were associated with decreased expression of nuclear ERα as compared to associated CAH. Primary cultures of epithelial and stromal cells were prepared from uteri of Pten floxed mice and Pten was deleted in vitro using Cre expressing adenovirus. Pten deletion was evident in both the epithelial and stromal cells and the treatment of the primary cultures with estrogen had different effects on Akt activation as well as Cyclin D3 expression in the two purified components. This study demonstrates that somatic biallelic inactivation of Pten in endometrial epithelium in vivo results in an increased incidence and aggressiveness of endometrial carcinoma compared to mice carrying a germline deletion of one allele and provides an important in vivo and in vitro model system for understanding the genetic underpinnings of endometrial carcinoma.
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