Neuroendocrine lung cancer is among the most common types of lung cancers in smokers. We have recently shown that exposure of hamsters to N-nitrosodiethylamine and hyperoxia causes a high incidence of this tumor type.

In this study, we show that the tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone also causes neuroendocrine lung tumors in hyperoxic hamsters. Animals maintained in ambient air while being treated with 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone developed pulmonary adenomas composed of Clara cells and alveolar type II cells. Pathogenesis experiments provide evidence for the tumors caused by 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone in ambient air being derived from Clara cells. In the hyperoxic hamsters, the neuroendocrine carcinogenesis appears to involve two stages: (a) transformation of focal alveolar type II cells into neuroendocrine cells and (b) development of neuroendocrine lung tumors from such foci.

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Supported in part by the University of Tennessee Center of Excellence Grant No. R18-0101-03; supported in part by the Office of Health and Environmental Research, United States Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC05-84DR21400 with Martin Marietta Energy System, Inc.; and supported in part by Grant No. R01 CA48014-02 with the National Cancer Institute.

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