We showed earlier that 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd), which can substitute for thymidine during DNA synthesis, inducing transition mutations, is incorporated into DNA of various tissues when administered to newborn rats and is not subjected to repair processes. The main purpose of the present experiment is to verify if a direct perturbation of DNA would be sufficient to initiate carcinogenesis. Rats aged 1, 3, 7, and 21 days were given BrdUrd s.c. at a dose of 3.2 mg/animal. At 2 months some of the females were subjected to treatment known to induce persistent estrus; at 1 month a group of males underwent removal of one kidney, and groups of males and females were exposed to a single totalbody X-irradiation at a dose of 1.5 Gy (150 rads) per rat. In females, treatment with BrdUrd induced tumors of the ovaries, polyps in the uterus, and tumors of the soft tissues, nervous system, forestomach, glandular stomach, and salivary gland; no such tumor occurred in control females. Induction of persistent estrus increased the incidences of ovarian tumors and of malignant tumors of the uterus. Treatment with BrdUrd also increased the carcinogenic effect of X-rays on the mammary gland. In males, BrdUrd induced tumors of the testis (seminomas) and adenomas of the thyroid gland; solitary tumors of the kidney, nervous system, soft tissues, and bladder were also found. Unilateral nephrectomy reduced the incidences of tumors in the testis and pituitary gland, whereas subsequent treatment with X-rays did not alter the incidences of tumors induced by BrdUrd. These studies demonstrated for the first time that a nucleoside analogue, BrdUrd, has carcinogenic potential. Possible molecular mechanisms for its carcinogenicity and for the effects of the promoting factors are discussed.

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