Mammary tumor induction in ACI rats exposed to low levels of 17β-estradiol

Srivani Ravoori, Manicka V. Vadhanam, Sunati Sahoo, Cidambi Srinivasan, Ramesh C. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Animal models play a major role in understanding the etiology, molecular mechanisms, strategizing intervention and treatment of human diseases. ACI, an inbred line derived from August and Copenhagen strains, is unique for its susceptibility to estrogen-induced mammary tumors. Histologically and in many molecular aspects, the tumors formed in these rats are similar to human breast cancers. Previous studies have shown high mortality and significant weight loss in this model associated with pituitary gland abnormality. We hypothesized that this could be due to overwhelming the biological system with estrogen. Three groups of female ACI rats (7-8 weeks) received either 3-cm sham silastic implants, or the conventional 3-cm silastic implants containing 27 mg of 17β-estradiol, or 1.2-cm silastic implants containing 9 mg 17β-estradiol. The sham and 3-cm implant rats were euthanized at 180 days while the 1.2-cm implant rats were euthanized at 240 days. The 1.2-cm implants resulted in significantly reduced serum estrogen levels and pituitary gland size. Animals with 1.2-cm implants had 100% tumor incidence, while not all rats developed tumors with 3-cm implants. Both the tumor burden (from 1,011±402 to 2,324±454 mm3; p=0.01) and tumor multiplicity (from 5.78±1.4 to 7.6±1.04) increased by lowering the estrogen dose, and the inter-animal variability in the tumor indices decreased. Finally, the weight of the pituitary gland was also significantly (p=0.0004) reduced (from 178±23.5 mg to 80±8.9 mg) and the mortality rate decreased from 42% to 0% (p=0.01). Our data indicate that the improvised model will provide valuable insights into the molecular alterations in the estrogen-induced mammary tumorigenesis and will be ideal for inhibition studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-120
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • 17β-estradiol
  • ACI rats
  • Mammary tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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