Spontaneous, malignant ovarian granulosa cell (GC) tumors occur in pubertal SWR and specific SWXJ recombinant inbred strains of mice. Treatment of these mice with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), an adrenal secretory steroid with anticancer actions against spontaneous and carcinogen-induced tumors of different tissues, gave unexpected results. Diet supplemented with 0.4% DHEA (a) induced significantly more GC tumors in spontaneous tumor-suseptible strains (SWR and SWXJ-1, -4, and -9), (b) induced the first GC tumors observed in five previously tumor-free strains (SWXJ-6, -7, -8, -10, and -12), and (c) failed to induce GC tumors in SJL and in the remaining six SWXJ strains (SWXJ-2, -3, -5, -11, -13, and -14). The strain distribution pattern of DHEA-induced GC tumor susceptibility versus resistance was compared with strain distribution patterns for 35 different loci known to distinguish SWR and SJL progenitor strains. A complete match of DHEA-induced GC tumors with pancreas-2 (Pan-2) on mouse chromosome 4 was found. We have named this new locus GC tumor susceptibility (Gct), with the Gcts (susceptible) allele found in SWR and the Gctr (resistant) allele found in SJL mice. The Gct locus is closely linked to pancreas-2, Pan-2, but the order of genes is not yet confirmed. In addition, data from F1 progeny of matings between SWR and selected inbred strains provide suggestive evidence for a second gene controlling GC tumor incidence that we hypothesize involves steroid metabolism. Differences in GC tumor incidence data from reciprocal F1 progeny of matings between SWR and SJL mice reveal a strong maternal effect that may represent yet a third gene. These data support a heritable basis for GC tumorigenesis in the SWR model involving a small number of genes.


This work was supported by American Cancer Society Grants CD-273 (J. H. N.) and CD-265 (W. G. B.); National Cancer Institute Grants CA-24145 and CA-42363 (W. G. B.) and CA-20408 (L. D. S.), and NIH National Research Service Award T32-CA-09217 (B. J. T.). The data are the sole responsibility of the authors and The Jackson Laboratory.

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