The role of ras gene activation in the development of lung tumors induced by N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) and N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN) was evaluated in the A/J mouse, a strain susceptible to chemically induced lung tumors. DNAs isolated from both ENU- and DEN-induced lung tumors were screened for activating mutations in the K-ras gene by utilizing the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and direct sequence analysis. Mutations in the K-ras gene were detected in 11 of 11 ENU-induced tumors and 23 of 28 DEN-induced tumors. In ENU-induced tumors, there were three GC → AT transitions in the second base of codon 12, and seven AT → GC transitions and one AT → TA transversion in the second base of codon 61. A similar spectrum of K-ras mutations was observed in DEN-induced lung tumors: five GC → AT transitions and two GC → TA transversions in the second base of codon 12, and sixteen AT → GC transitions at the second base of codon 61. Ninety-one percent (31/34) of the observed mutations are consistent with the formation of the promutagenic O4ethylthymine and O6-ethylguanine adducts in DNA. Therefore, lung tumors from the A/J mouse induced by DEN and ENU could be initiated by the interaction of reactive metabolites with specific sites in the K-ras gene. This is the first clear example of activation of the K-ras gene by ethylating agents in a rodent lung tumor system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research