Genetic alterations of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) are frequently observed to have cumulative or cooperative tumorigenic effects. We examined whether the TSGs Rb1, Trp53, Pten and Men1 have cooperative effects in suppressing neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) in mice. We generated pairwise homozygous deletions of these four genes in insulin II gene expressing cells using the Cre-LoxP system. By monitoring growth and examining the histopathology of the pituitary (Pit) and pancreas (Pan) in these mice, we demonstrated that pRB had the strongest cooperative function with PTEN in suppressing PitNETs and had strong cooperative function with Menin and TRP53, respectively, in suppressing PitNETs and PanNETs. TRP53 had weak cooperative function with PTEN in suppressing pituitary lesions. We also found that deletion of Pten singly led to prolactinomas in female mice, and deletion of Rb1 alone led to islet hyperplasia in pancreas. Collectively, our data indicated that pRB and PTEN pathways play significant roles in suppressing PitNETs, while the Menin-mediated pathway plays a significant role in suppressing PanNETs. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of these genes and pathways on NETs will help us understand the molecular mechanisms of neuroendocrine tumorigenesis and develop effective preclinical murine models for NET therapeutics to improve clinical outcomes in humans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuroendocrine tumors