A Bcl-x(L) transgene promotes malignant conversion of chemically initiated skin papillomas

John C. Pena, Charles M. Rudin, Craig B. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The role of apoptosis in the pathogenesis of skin cancer was analyzed in mice bearing a Bcl-x(L) transgene expressed under the control of the keratin 14 promoter. No spontaneous tumors developed in the skin of these transgenic mice. Bcl-x(L) transgenics also failed to develop skin lesions following treatment with the chemical mutagen 9,10-dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene, or the tumor promoter O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. However, Bcl-x(L). transgenics developed a two-fold greater number of benign papillomas than control littermates following treatment with the combination of 9,10- dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene and O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate. More significantly, Bcl-x(L) transgenic mice developed invasive squamous cell carcinoma earlier and more frequently than wild-type controls in response to the chemical agents. These data suggest that Bcl-x(L) cannot functionally substitute for a mutagenic initiator or mitogenic promoter in tumorigenesis. In contrast, Bcl-x(L) overexpression can dramatically increase the malignant conversion rate of benign tumors, suggesting that inhibition of apoptosis can contribute to tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2111-2116
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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