A Chemically Induced Model for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Lung in Mice: Histopathology and Strain Susceptibility

Yian Wang, Zhongqiu Zhang, Ying Yan, William J. Lemon, Marie LaRegina, Carl Morrison, Ronald Lubet, Ming You

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104 Scopus citations


Lung cancer, primarily associated with tobacco use, is the leading cause of cancer morbidity and mortality in the United States. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the four major histological types of lung cancer. Although there are several established models for lung adenoma and adenocarcinomas, there is no well-established mouse model for lung SCC. We treated eight different inbred strains of mice with N-nitroso-trischloroethylurea by skin painting and found that this regimen induced lung SCCs in five strains of mouse (SWR/J, NIH Swiss, A/J, BALB/cJ, and FVB/J) but not in the others (AKR/J, 129/svJ, and C57BL/6J). Mouse lung SCCs have similar histopathological features and keratin staining to human SCC. Moreover, a wide spectrum of abnormal lung squamous phenotypes including hyperplasia, metaplasia, carcinoma in situ, and invasive carcinoma, were observed. There are strain-specific differences in susceptibility to Lscc induction by N-nitroso-tris-chloroethylurea with NIH Swiss, A/J, and SWR/J mice developing scores of SCCs whereas the resistant strains AKR/J, 129/svJ, and C57BL/6J failed to develop any SCCs. FVB/J and BALB/cJ mice had an intermediate response. We conducted whole-genome linkage disequilibrium analysis in seven strains of mice, divided into three phenotype categories of susceptibility, using Fisher's exact test applied to 6,128 markers in publically available databases. Three markers were found significantly associated with susceptibility to SCC with the P < 0.05. They were D1Mit169, D3Mit178, and D18Mit91. Interestingly, none of these sites overlap with the major susceptibility loci associated with lung adenoma/adenocarcinoma development in mice. The mouse SCC described here is highly significant for preclinical studies of lung cancer chemopreventive agents because most human trials have been conducted against precancerous lesions for SCC. Furthermore, this model can be used in determining genetic modifiers that contribute to susceptibility or resistance to lung SCC development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1647-1654
Number of pages8
JournalCancer research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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