Review Article | Published:

Cancer in rodents: does it tell us about cancer in humans?

Nature Reviews Cancer volume 5, pages 807819 (2005) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

Information obtained from animal models (mostly mice and rats) has contributed substantially to the development of treatments for human cancers. However, important interspecies differences have to be taken into account when considering the mechanisms of cancer development and extrapolating the results from mice to humans. Comparative studies of cancer in humans and animal models mostly focus on genetic factors. This review discusses the bio-epidemiological aspects of cancer manifestation in humans and rodents that have been underrepresented in the literature.

Key points

  • Whereas laboratory rodents (namely mice and rats) are similar to humans in some aspects, there are important differences among mammalian species that make valid interpretation and extrapolation of the results from rodent cancer experiments to humans problematic.

  • The five most common human cancers are those of the breast (female), the prostate (male), and the lungs, colon, and stomach (both sexes). Mammary tumours are also common in rodents. However, there are no rat or mouse strains that exhibit a high incidence of spontaneous carcinomas of the stomach or colon.

  • A decrease in the overall risk of cancer owing to old age has been recorded in both human and rodent studies. Three important factors could be responsible for this intriguing decline: detection bias, differential selection, and the effects of individual ageing. Studies in rodents argue against a diagnostic bias as a leading cause.

  • The risk of cancer has increased over time in most human populations. Why this is remains unclear, but addressing this problem is crucial for understanding the nature of cancer.

  • Some studies indicate that the differences in cancer incidence rates between males and females are similar in rodents and humans. This is a surprising finding that requires additional explanation.

  • Whereas tumours often grow at a slower rate during old age, the chances for survival of a transplanted tumour in a recipient host often increases with rodent age. This is in agreement with human data indicating that ageing can both decelerate tumour growth and increase the chances of latent tumour survival in older organisms.

  • The spontaneous regression of tumours is a rare phenomenon in adult humans, whereas it is common in mature laboratory rodents. This effect and its implications need further investigation.

  • Few rodent carcinogens were established as clearly carcinogenic to humans. Similarly, some human carcinogens are not carcinogenic to rodents. This creates a significant problem for interpreting the results of animal experiments with carcinogens in relation to humans.

  • These and other differences warn against the simple extrapolation of the results of rodent experiments to humans and call for further investigation of this important problem to reliably predict cancer risks, as well as foster success in treating human cancers based on data from laboratory animal studies.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    & Spontaneous and genetically engineered animal models; use in preclinical cancer drug development. Eur. J. Cancer 40, 858–880 (2004).

  2. 2.

    et al. Can animal models help us select specific compounds for cancer prevention trials? Recent Results Cancer Res. 166, 71–87 (2005).

  3. 3.

    & Modelling the molecular circuitry of cancer. Nature Rev. Cancer 2, 331–341 (2002). Basic information on the differences between the genetic events required to induce malignant transformation in human and mouse cells.

  4. 4.

    & Comparative biology of mouse versus human cells: modelling human cancer in mice. Nature Rev. Cancer 3, 952–959 (2003). Important paper addressing differences in how tumorigenesis occurs in mice and humans.

  5. 5.

    , & Relevance of animal carcinogenesis findings to human cancer predictions and prevention. Toxicol. Pathol. 32 (Suppl. 1), 40–48 (2004).

  6. 6.

    The age of cancer. Nature 408, 248–254 (2000). Review paper on the link between advanced age and increased incidence of cancer in mice and humans.

  7. 7.

    , , & in Pathology of Genetically Engineered Mice (eds J. M. Ward, et al.) 161–179 (Iowa State Univ., Ames, 2000).

  8. 8.

    et al. Tumors in CF-1 mice exposed for six consecutive generations to DDT. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 51, 983–997 (1973).

  9. 9.

    et al. Dose-dependent effect of melatonin on life span and spontaneous tumor incidence in female SHR mice. Exp. Gerontol. 38, 449–461 (2003).

  10. 10.

    et al. Telomere dysfunction promotes non-reciprocal translocations and epithelial cancers in mice. Nature 406, 641–645 (2000).

  11. 11.

    Standardized nomenclature for inbred strains of mice: seventh listing. Cancer Res. 40, 2083–2128 (1980).

  12. 12.

    Longevity and gross pathology at death in 22 inbred mouse strains. J. Gerontol. 21, 404–409 (1966).

  13. 13.

    Background data and variations in tumor rates of control rats and mice. Progr. Exp. Tumor Res. 26, 241–263 (1983).

  14. 14.

    Carcinogenesis and Aging. Volumes 1 & 2 (CRC, Boca Raton, 1987).

  15. 15.

    , & GLOBOCAN: cancer incidence and mortality worldwide. IARC Cancer Base No. 3 (IARC, Lyon, 1998).

  16. 16.

    , , & Incidence and morphology of spontaneous thyroid tumours in different strains of rats. J. Comp. Pathol. 102, 421–432 (1990).

  17. 17.

    Endometrial cancer: experimental models useful for studies on molecular aspects of endometrial cancer and carcinogenesis. Endocr. Relat. Cancer 10, 23–42 (2003).

  18. 18.

    Molecular and Physiological Mechanisms of Aging (Nauka, St. Petersburg, 2003).

  19. 19.

    Impact of Westernization on the nutrition of japanese: changes in physique, cancer, longevity and centenarians. Prev. Med. 7, 205–217 (1978).

  20. 20.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer. Cancer Incidence in Five Continents. Volumes 1–8 (Lyon, IARC, 1965–2003). Important data source on age-specific cancer incidence rates in humans worldwide.

  21. 21.

    , , & EUCAN: Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence in the European Union in 1996. Version 3.1 (IARC, Lyon, 1999).

  22. 22.

    National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2002 (eds Ries, L. A. G. et al.) (2005).

  23. 23.

    WHO Regional Office for Europe. European Health for all database (HFA-DB) (2005).

  24. 24.

    Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics (2005).

  25. 25.

    Cancer mortality at very old ages. Cancer 77, 1367–1372 (1996).

  26. 26.

    in The Paradoxes of Longevity (eds Robine, J. M. et al.) 61–71 (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1999). An important study revealing the decline in cancer mortality rate at oldest old ages.

  27. 27.

    & Individual aging and cancer risk: How are they related? Demogr. Res. 9, 163–196 (2003). A study that establishes a link between somatic ageing and the decline in overall cancer risk at old ages.

  28. 28.

    & Cancer rates over age, time, and place: insights from stochastic models of heterogeneous populations. MPIDR Working Papers, WP-1999-06 (1999).

  29. 29.

    , , & Decline in human cancer incidence rates at old ages: age–period—cohort considerations. Demogr. Res. 12, 272–300 (2005).

  30. 30.

    Ovarian cancer. Cancer 73, 517–523 (1993).

  31. 31.

    & Cancer in older persons. Cancer 74, 1955–2013 (1994).

  32. 32.

    & Age distribution of cancer: the incidence turnover at old age. Human Ecol. Risk Assesment 7, 1619–1650 (2001).

  33. 33.

    et al. Cancer in the oldest old. Mech. Ageing Dev. 126, 263–267 (2005).

  34. 34.

    in Comprehensive Geriatric Oncology (eds Balducci, L., G. H. Lyman, W. B. Ershler & M. Extermann) 187–193 (Taylor and Francis Group, London, 2004).

  35. 35.

    , , & Prevalence, rate of correct clinical diagnosis and mortality of cancer in 4,894 elderly autopsy cases. Nippon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi. 30, 35–40 (1993).

  36. 36.

    , & Age distribution of cancer in mice: the incidence turnover at old age. Toxicol. Ind. Health 17, 7–16 (2001). Important study demonstrating the decline in cancer incidence rate in old mice.

  37. 37.

    et al. Spontaneous tumors in rats bred at animal farm 'Rappolovo' of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences. Vopr. Onkol. 24, 64–70 (1978).

  38. 38.

    & Effect of treatment with phenformin, diphenylhyantoin or L-DOPA on life span and tumor incidence in C3H/Sn mice. Gerontology 26, 241–246 (1980).

  39. 39.

    & How individual aging may influence human morbidity and mortality patterns. Mech. Ageing Dev. 122, 1447–1460 (2001).

  40. 40.

    in Comprehensive Geriatric Oncology (eds Balducci, L., Lyman, G. H., Ershler, W. B. & Extermann, M.) 147–157 (London: Taylor and Francis Group, 2004).

  41. 41.

    Explanations for reduced tumor proliferative capacity with age. Exp. Gerontol. 27, 551–558 (1992).

  42. 42.

    et al. B16 murine melanoma and aging: slower growth and longer survival in old mice. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 72, 161–164 (1992).

  43. 43.

    et al. Altered angiogenesis underlying age-dependent changes in tumor growth. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 86, 1303–1314 (1994).

  44. 44.

    et al. Growth pattern and rate in residual non-functioning pituitary adenomas: correlations among tumor volume doubling time, patient age, and MIB-1 index. J. Neurosurg. 98, 359–365 (2003).

  45. 45.

    , & Effect of host age on tumor-associated angiogenesis in mice. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 82, 44–47 (1990).

  46. 46.

    et al. Behavior of metastatic and nonmetastatic breast tumors in old mice. Exp. Biol. Med. 229, 665–675 (2004).

  47. 47.

    & Effect of age on development of transplantable tumors in mice. Vopr. Onkol. 27, 52–59 (1981).

  48. 48.

    in Comprehensive Geriatric Oncology (eds Balducci, L., Lyman, G. H., Ershler, W. B. & Extermann, M.) 75–101 (Taylor and Francis Group, London, 2004).

  49. 49.

    Cancer, aging and cellular senescence. In Vivo 14, 183–188 (2000).

  50. 50.

    Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine. 5th edn (eds Bast, R. C. et al.) (BC Decker Inc., Ontario, 2000).

  51. 51.

    Cancer and ageing: rival demons. Nature Rev. Cancer 3, 339–349 (2003).

  52. 52.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risk to humans vol. 72. Hormonal contraceptives and post-menopausal hormonal therapy (Lyon, IARC, 1999).

  53. 53.

    , & Effect of genotype and diet on age-related lesions in ad libitum fed and calorie-restricted F344, BN, and BNF3F1 rats. J. Gerontol. Med. Sci. 54A, 478–491 (1999).

  54. 54.

    & Economic progress as cancer risk factor. I. Puzzling facts of cancer epidemiology. MPIDR Working Papers, WP-2005-021 (2005).

  55. 55.

    , , & Mathematical models for human cancer incidence rates. Demogr. Res. 12, 272–300 (2005).

  56. 56.

    et al. Concerning the absence of mutagenicity and carcinogenicity in mildronate. Vopr. Oncol. 45, 279–282 (1999).

  57. 57.

    , , & The modifying influence of diet and the physical environment on spontaneous tumour frequency in rats. Brit. J. Cancer 12, 257–293 (1958).

  58. 58.

    & Comparison of neoplasms in six sources of rats. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 50, 1243–1257 (1973).

  59. 59.

    et al. Increase in the longevity and decrease in the tumor incidence in mice given polypeptide thymus and epiphysis factors at different age. Doklady Akad. Nauk SSSR 302, 473–476 (1988).

  60. 60.

    et al. Tumors in CF-1 mice exposed for six consecutive generations to DDT. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 51, 983 (1973).

  61. 61.

    Frequency and time trends of spontaneous tumors found in B6C3F1 mice oncogenicity studies over 10 years. Exp. Toxicol. Pathol. 53, 399–408 (2001).

  62. 62.

    , & Study of levels of benzo(a)pyrene and N-nitrosamines in the food of laboratory animals. Vopr. Onkol. 5, 54–57 (1986).

  63. 63.

    , , & The stability of historical control data for common neoplasms in laboratory rats and the implications for carcinogenic assessment. Regul. Toxicol. Pharmacol. 40, 293–304 (2004).

  64. 64.

    et al. Spontaneous tumors in outbred LIO rats. J. Exp. Clin. Cancer Res. 8, 254–262 (1989).

  65. 65.

    , , & Age-dependent regulation of the tumorigenic potential of neoplastically transformed rat liver epithelial cells by the liver microenvironment Cancer Res. 54, 3668–3671 (1994). A study demonstrating an increase in tumour transplantability with the increasing age of recipient rats. These findings implicate that young age provides a more suppressive microenvironment for tumour formation.

  66. 66.

    et al. Latent carcinoma of prostate at autopsy in seven areas. Int. J. Cancer 20, 680–688 (1977).

  67. 67.

    & Latent thyroid pathology in residents of Kiev, Ukraine. Environ. Pathol. Toxicol. Oncol. 15, 239–243 (1996).

  68. 68.

    , & Control of cell proliferation by embryonal-origin factors. Am. J. Reprod. Immunol. 35, 318–324 (1996).

  69. 69.

    , , & Antitumour therapeutic potential of activated human umbilical cord blood cells against leukemia and breast cancer. Clin. Cancer Res. 11, 4351–4358 (2000).

  70. 70.

    et al. Neural progenitor cell lines inhibit rat tumor growth in vivo. Cancer Res. 64, 5347–5354 (2004).

  71. 71.

    & Treating cancer with embryonic stem cells: rationale comes from aging studies. Frontiers Biosci. 10, 588–595 (2005).

  72. 72.

    & The hallmarks of cancer. Cell 100, 57–70 (2000).

  73. 73.

    & Cancer as 'rejuvenescence'. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1019, 200–205 (2004).

  74. 74.

    , , & Age-dependent induction of hepatic tumor regression by the tissue microenvironment after transplantation of neoplastically transformed rat liver epithelial cells into the liver. Cancer Res. 57, 1807–1813 (1997).

  75. 75.

    & Integrating epithelial cancer, aging stroma and cellular senescence. Adv. Gerontol. 11, 109–116 (2003).

  76. 76.

    et al. Senescent fibroblasts promote epithelial cell growth and tumorigenesis: a link between cancer and aging. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 98, 12072–12077 (2001). Important study showing that an environment consisting of senescent cells favours the proliferation of pre-malignant cells in culture.

  77. 77.

    & Replicative senescence: implications for in vivo aging and tumor suppression. Science 273, 63–66 (1996).

  78. 78.

    , & Ageing, longevity, inflammation and cancer. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1028, 1–13 (2004).

  79. 79.

    & Inflammation and cancer. Nature 420, 860–867 (2002).

  80. 80.

    , & Hypothalamic mechanisms of ageing and of specific age pathology-II. The sensitivity threshold of hypothalamo-pituitary complex to homeostatic stimuli in adaptive homeostasis. Exp. Gerontol. 14, 175–181 (1979).

  81. 81.

    , & Stressors and antistressors: how do they influence life span in HER-2/neu transgenic mice? Exp. Gerontol. 39, 1499–1511 (2004).

  82. 82.

    Latent malignancies at autopsy: a little used source of information on cancer biology (eds Riboli, E. & Delendi, M.). IARC Sci. Publ. 112, 253–261 (1991).

  83. 83.

    Mechanisms of carcinogenesis in risk identification (eds Vanio, H., Magee, P. N., McGregor, D. & McMichael, A. J.). IARC Sci. Publ. 116, 9–56 (1992).

  84. 84.

    Conversion of malignant cells into normal ones. Int. Rev. Cytol. 103, 341–86 (1986).

  85. 85.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Volumes 1–78 (IARC, Lyon, 1972–2001).

  86. 86.

    , , , & Increased incidence of experimental colon cancer associated with long-term metronidazole therapy. Am. J. Surg. 145, 66–70 (1983).

  87. 87.

    Chemical Induction of Cancer. Modulation and Combination Effects. An Inventory of the Many Factors which Influence Carcinogenesis (eds Arcos, J. C., Argus, M. F. & Woo, Y.) (Birkhauser, Boston, 1995).

  88. 88.

    Microbes and Malignancy: Infection as a Cause of Human Cancer (ed. Parsonnet, J.) (Oxford Univ., New York, 1999).

  89. 89.

    , , & Creating and maintaining the gastrointestinal ecosystem: what we know and need to know from gnotobiology. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 62, 1157–1170 (1998).

  90. 90.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans vol. 4. Some aromatic amines, hydrazine and related substances, N-nitroso compounds and miscellaneous alkylating agents (IARC, Lyon, 1974).

  91. 91.

    Life span extension and cancer risk: myths and reality. Exp. Gerontol. 26, 1101–1137 (2001).

  92. 92.

    et al. Statistical Methods in Cancer Research. Vol. 3 – The Design and Analysis of Long-Term Animal Experiments (IARC, Lyon, 1986).

  93. 93.

    , & Night shift work, light at night, and risk of breast cancer. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 93, 1557–1562 (2001).

  94. 94.

    et al. Rotating night shifts and risk of breast cancer in women participating in the nurses' health study. J. Natl Cancer. Inst. 93, 1563–1568 (2001). This study demonstrates the increased breast cancer risk in night-shift female workers.

  95. 95.

    et al. Night-shift work and risk of colorectal cancer in the nurses' health study. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 5, 825–828 (2003).

  96. 96.

    & Light in the built environment: potential role of circadian disruption in endocrine disruption and breast cancer. Cancer Causes Control 12, 279–287 (2001).

  97. 97.

    Melatonin and the Mammalian Pineal Gland (Chapman & Hall, London, 1995).

  98. 98.

    et al. The tumor promoting effect of constant light exposure on diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in rats. Life Sci. 64, 2523–2534 (1999).

  99. 99.

    , , & Effect of light/dark regimen on N-nitrosoethylurea-induced transplacental carcinogenesis in rats. Cancer Lett. 163, 51–57 (2001).

  100. 100.

    The light–dark regimen and cancer development. Neuroendocrinol. Lett. 23 (Suppl. 2), 28–36 (2002).

  101. 101.

    et al. Effect of exposure to light-at-night on life span and spontaneous carcinogenesis in female CBA mice. Int. J. Cancer 111, 475–479 (2004).

  102. 102.

    , , & Age at menarche, age at menopause, height and obesity as risk factors for breast cancer: associations and interactions in an international case-control study. Int. J. Cancer, 46, 796–800 (1990).

  103. 103.

    & Relationship between incidence and onset age of mammary tumors and reproductive characteristics in mice. Eur. J. Cancer 16, 111–116 (1980).

  104. 104.

    , , & Race-strain factor related to hydrocarbon-induced mammary cancer in rats. J. Natl Cancer Inst. 29, 805–808 (1962).

  105. 105.

    & Age at menarche and menopause of uterine cancer patients. Eur. J. Obstet. Gynecol. Reprod. Biol. 8, 187–193 (1978).

  106. 106.

    et al. Pooled analysis of 3 European case-control studies of ovarian cancer: II. Age at menarche and at menopause. Int. J. Cancer 19, 57–60 (1991).

  107. 107.

    Functional consequences from varying patterns of growth and maturation during adolescence. Horm. Res. 39 (Suppl. 3), 49–58 (1993).

  108. 108.

    Harvard report on cancer prevention: causes of human cancer. Smoking (eds Monson, R. & Wals, J.). Cancer Causes Control 1 (Suppl. 1), S5–S6 (1996).

  109. 109.

    Insulin, insulin-like growth factors and colon cancer: a review of the evidence. J. Nutr. 131 (Suppl. 11), 3109–3120 (2001).

  110. 110.

    Insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway driving aging and cancer as a target for pharmacological intervention. Exp. Gerontol. 38, 1041–1049 (2003).

  111. 111.

    et al. Delayed occurrence of fatal neoplastic diseases in Ames dwarf mice: correlation to extended longevity. J. Gerontol. Biol. Med. Sci. 58, 291–296 (2003).

  112. 112.

    A conserved regulatory system for aging. Cell 105, 165–168 (2001).

  113. 113.

    et al. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and aging: controverses and new insights. Biogerontology 4, 1–8 (2003).

  114. 114.

    & Positive correlation of body weight with pituitary tumor incidence in rats. Fund. Appl. Toxicol. 2, 145–148 (1982).

  115. 115.

    et al. Body weight is not always a good predictor of longevity in mice. Exp. Gerontol. 39, 305–319 (2004).

  116. 116.

    et al. Is early life body weight a predictor of longevity and tumor risk in rats? Exp Gerontol. 39, 807–816 (2004).

  117. 117.

    , & JPHC Study Group. Impact of body mass index on the risk of total cancer incidence and mortality among middle-aged Japanese: data from a large-scale population-based cohort study — the JPHC study. Cancer Causes Control 15, 671–680 (2004).

  118. 118.

    , & Height and body mass index in relation to esophageal cancer; 23-year follow-up of two million Norwegian men and women. Cancer Causes Control 8, 837–43 (2004).

  119. 119.

    Body mass index and colon cancer in a national sample of adult US men and women. Am. J. Epidemiol. 150, 390–398 (1999).

  120. 120.

    et al. The effects of physical activity and body mass index on cardiovascular, cancer and all-cause mortality among 47212 middle-aged Finnish men and women. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 29, 894–902 (2005).

  121. 121.

    , , & Body mass index and the risk of male cancer mortality of various sites: 17-year follow-up of the Basel cohort study. Swiss Med. Wkly. 135, 27–33 (2005)

  122. 122.

    Ageing, metabolic immunodepression and carcinogenesis. Mech. Ageing Dev. 8, 153–173 (1978).

  123. 123.

    Development, Aging and Disease. A New Rationale for an Intervention (Harwood Academic, Pennsylvania, 1994).

  124. 124.

    et al. Colorectal cancer mortality and factors related to the insulin resistance syndrome. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 11, 385–391 (2002).

  125. 125.

    , , & Insulin: a novel factor in carcinogenesis. Am. J. Med. Sci. 323, 140–145 (2002).

  126. 126.

    , & Insulin-like growth factors and neoplasia. Nature Rev. Cancer 4, 505–518 (2004).

  127. 127.

    et al. Insulin in aging and cancer: new antidiabetic drug Diabenol as geroprotector and anticarcinogen. Int. J. Biochem. Cell. Biol. 37, 1117–1129 (2005).

  128. 128.

    Clinical usage of hypolipidemic and antidiabetic drugs in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Cancer Lett. 224, 203–212 (2005).

  129. 129.

    & Breast cancer risk associated with proliferative disease, age at first birth, and a family history of breast cancer. Am. J. Epidemiol. 125, 769–779 (1987).

  130. 130.

    , & Parental age as a risk factor of childhood leukemia and brain cancer in offspring. Epidemiology 10, 271–275(1999). A large-scale study showing that both maternal and paternal old age increase cancer risk in children.

  131. 131.

    & Parental age and risk of sporadic and familial cancer in offspring; implications for germ cell mutagenesis. Epidemiology 10, 747–751 (1999).

  132. 132.

    , & Age-specific risks in common cancers of the offspring. Int. J. Cancer 78, 172–175 (1998).

  133. 133.

    & N-nitrosomethylurea-induced carcinogenesis in the progeny of male rats of different ages. Mutat. Res. 316, 139–145 (1995).

  134. 134.

    & Proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis in cancer. Nature 411, 342–348 (2001).

  135. 135.

    Cancer genomics. Cancer Cell 1, 37–47 (2002).

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank James W. Vaupel for the opportunity to conduct substantial parts of this work at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany. We are thankful to Mark A. Zabezhinski and Igor Akushevich for their comments on the paper. We are also thankful to Virginia Lewis for help in preparing this manuscript. This research was partly supported by NIH/NIA grants and by a grant from the President of the Russian Federation.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Carcinogenesis and Oncogerontology, N.N. Petrov Research Institute of Oncology, Pesochny-2, St. Petersburg 197758, Russia.

    • Vladimir N. Anisimov
  2. Center for Demographic Studies, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA.

    • Svetlana V. Ukraintseva
    •  & Anatoly I. Yashin

Authors

  1. Search for Vladimir N. Anisimov in:

  2. Search for Svetlana V. Ukraintseva in:

  3. Search for Anatoly I. Yashin in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Vladimir N. Anisimov or Svetlana V. Ukraintseva.

Glossary

CANCER INCIDENCE RATE

A proportion of new cancer cases (registered for the first time) in a population of a given age.

PREVALENCE OF CANCER

A proportion of individuals with a diagnosed cancer (no matter when the diagnosis was made) in a population of a given age. The prevalence characterizes the cancer burden.

CANCER MORTALITY RATE

A proportion of cancer deaths in a population of a given age.

POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS

Their metabolites (diol epoxides) bind DNA and induce point-mutations in oncogenes (for example, HRAS).

NITROSO COMPOUNDS

Potent alkylating mutagens and carcinogens. The most important target in DNA is guanine at the O6 position.

2-NAPHTHYLAMINE

The oxidation of 2-naphthylamine at the amine group leads to the formation of hydroxylamine, which binds DNA in the target tissue.

ONTOGENY

The total of the stages of an organism's life history.

HYPERINSULINAEMIA

An increased level of insulin in the serum.

ANTIDIABETIC MEDICINES

Antidiabetic drugs, phenformin (1-phenylethylbiguanide), buformin (1-butylbiguanide hydrochloride) and metformin (N,N-dimethylbiguanide) decrease the blood glucose level and increase the susceptibility of tissues to insulin.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc1715

Further reading