Sequential expression and cooperative interaction of c-Ha-ras and c-erbB genes in in vivo chemical carcinogenesis

Z. Husain, Y. Fei, S. Roy, D. B. Solt, P. J. Polverini, D. K. Biswas

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55 Scopus citations


The level of expression of several cellular protooncogenes is examined at different stages of 7.12-dimethylbenzanthracene (DMBA)-induced tumor development in hamster buccal pouch epithelium (HBPE). Results presented demonstrate overexpression of c-Ha-ras gene at a very early stage of tumor development, and this elevated level of expression of the gene persists throughout the tumorigenesis process. The expression of the cellular protooncogene c-erbB, on the other hand, can be detected only after 8-10 weeks of DMBA treatment of the tissue and increases with the progression of the disease. The overexpression of c-erbB gene can be correlated with the stage of extensive proliferation and subsequent invasion of the HBPE cells into the underlying connective tissue. This sequential pattern of stage-specific expression of the two cellular protooncogenes can be observed in (i) treated tissues, (ii) stage-representative cultured cells, and (iii) NIH 3T3 transformants derived with DNA from HBPE cells. The low-level expression of c-myc and c-sis genes detected in control tissues remains unaffected, while c-fos gene activity cannot be detected at any stage of tumor development. The overexpression of c-Ha-ras gene alone in HBPE cells derived from tissues treated for 5 weeks (DM5) is not sufficient to induce tumors in athymic mice, whereas expression of c-Ha-ras and c-erbB genes at later stages of tumor development (DM10 and HCPC cells) induce histopathologically defined epithelial cell carcinoma in athymic mice within 2-3 weeks. The sequential overexpression of c-Ha-ras and c-erbB genes in a stage-specific manner and their cooperative interaction in the DMBA-induced in vivo oral carcinogenesis have been demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1264-1268
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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