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.


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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