Dose-response relationships for the induction of mammary tumors by a single i.p. injection of 1-methyl-1-nitrosourea (MNU) were studied. Groups of 30 female Sprague-Dawley rats were given i.p. injections of 50, 37.5, 25, 12.5, or 0 mg MNU/kg body weight at 50 days of age. Animals were palpated for tumor detection twice weekly throughout a 28-week observation period. Administration of MNU i.p. caused no acute toxicity. Both benign and malignant mammary tumors were induced by MNU, but malignant tumors appeared earlier and at a faster rate than benign tumors. The incidence and numbers of mammary carcinomas increased whereas median cancer-free time decreased with increasing dose of MNU. Approximately twice as many mammary cancers were observed in the cervical-thoracic as in the abdominal-inguinal mammary gland chains irrespective of carcinogen dose, while the frequency of tumor occurrence in the left versus right chains was similar. Tumor latency decreased with increasing dose of MNU, but the quartiles for time to detection of all tumors within each carcinogen dose group were similar irrespective of anatomical region in which the tumors occurred. The mammary tumor response attained via i.p. injection was similar but the coefficient of variation for tumor multiplicity within a carcinogen dose group was lower in comparison to that observed when MNU was administered i.v. or s.c. Among these techniques for carcinogen injection, the i.p. route is the most rapid method and offers an added advantage of ease of administration with quantitative, reproducible delivery of the desired amount of carcinogen and a decrease in variability of tumor response among animals within a treatment group. This method is well suited for the technically less experienced investigator and for those in need of a rapid method of injecting MNU to large numbers of animals.

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This work was supported by USPHS Grant CA 49212 from the National Cancer Institute and by a gift to AMC Cancer Research Center from the AMC National Volunteer Organizations.

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