Animal Models of Lung Cancer: Characterization and Use for Chemoprevention Research
Of the potential sites of cancer development, cancer of the lung accounts for the highest number of cancer deaths each year in the United States (Jemal et al., 2010(1)). Based on its histopathological features, lung cancer is grouped into small cell lung cancer (SCLC; ∼20%) and non-SCLC (NSCLC; ∼80%), which is further divided into three subtypes: squamous cell carcinoma (∼30%), adenocarcinoma (∼50%), and large cell lung carcinoma. Every subtype of lung cancer has a relatively low 5-year survival rate that is attributed, in part, to the fact that they are routinely diagnosed at later histologic stages. Due to this alarming statistic, it is necessary to develop not only new and effective means of treatment but also of prevention. One of the promising approaches is chemoprevention which is the use of synthetic or natural agents to inhibit the initial development of or further progression of early lung lesions (Hong and Sporn, 1997). Many compounds have been identified as potentially effective chemopreventive agents using animal models. Most chemopreventive studies have been performed using mouse models which were developed to study lung adenomas or adenocarcinomas. More recently, models of squamous cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer have also been developed. This review seeks to highlight mouse models which we helped to develop and presents the results of recent chemopreventive studies that we have performed in models of lung adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and small cell lung cancer.