Imaoka, T., Okamoto, M., Nishimura, M., Nishimura, Y., Ootawara, M., Kakinuma, S., Tokairin, Y. and Shimada, Y. Mammary Tumorigenesis in ApcMin/+ Mice is Enhanced by X Irradiation with a Characteristic Age Dependence. Radiat. Res. 165, 165–173 (2006).
The ApcMin/+ (Min) mouse is genetically predisposed to both intestinal and mammary tumorigenesis. We investigated age-related changes in the susceptibility of mice (before, during and after puberty) to radiation-induced mammary tumorigenesis using this model. Female Min and wild-type mice having the C57BL/6J background were irradiated with 2 Gy of X rays at 2, 5, 7 and 10 weeks and killed humanely at 18 weeks of age. Min mice irradiated at 7–10 weeks of age (after puberty) developed mammary tumors with squamous metaplasia, whereas their wild-type littermates did not. Interestingly, irradiation of Min mice at 2–5 weeks (before and during puberty, respectively) did not induce mammary tumors but rather cystic nodules with metaplasia. The mammary tumors exhibited increased nuclear β-catenin protein and loss of the wild-type Apc allele. Our results show that susceptibility to radiation-induced mammary tumorigenesis increases after puberty in Min mice, suggesting that the tumorigenic effect of ionizing radiation targets the lobular-alveolar progenitor cells, which increase in number with age and are controlled by β-catenin signaling.