Overexpression of cyclin D1 has been implicated in the malignant transformation of a variety of human cancers, including urinary bladder carcinomas. However, few reports have addressed the significance of cyclin D1 overexpression in chemical carcinogenesis in rodents. In the present study, we evaluated the oncogenic potential of cyclin D1 in experimental rat urinary bladder carcinogenesis and its relationships to the oncogenes cyclin E, K-ras, and H-ras as well as tumor suppressor genes p53 and p21WAF1/Cip1. In addition, proliferation status of preneoplastic lesions and tumors was assessed by proliferating cell nuclear antigen immunohistochemistry. Fisher 344 rats were initiated with 0.05% N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)nitrosamine in the drinking water for 4 weeks and then administered 5% sodium l-ascorbate in diet. Animals were sacrificed at weeks 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24. Preneoplastic lesions such as papillary or nodular hyperplasia and neoplastic lesions of the urinary bladder were observed during carcinogenesis. By immunohistochemical examination, overexpression of cyclin D1 protein was observed in 17% of papillary or nodular hyperplasias, 66% of papillomas, and 69% of transitional cell carcinomas, whereas nuclear accumulation of p53 was observed in none of the preneoplastic lesions and in fewer than 2% of transitional cell carcinomas. Overexpression of cyclin D1 in preneoplastic lesions and tumors was not dependent on the size of the tumors or their proliferation status. Quantitation of mRNA in tumors by multiplex reverse transcription-PCR showed that average mRNA expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin E was increased, whereas average p21WAF1/Cip1 mRNA expression was decreased. More than 2-fold overexpression of cyclin D1 mRNA was observed in 50 and 60% of tumors at weeks 18 and 24, respectively. Localization of cyclin D1 mRNA expression was demonstrated by in situ hybridization, and the results were comparable to immunohistochemistry findings. None of the 25 tumors we examined by PCR-single-strand conformational polymorphism analysis harbored p53 mutations, H-ras mutations, or K-ras mutations. Thus, during the promotion phase of two-stage bladder carcinogenesis, overexpression of cyclin D1 in tumor cells may provide yet another mechanism by which tumors can gain a growth advantage. In contrast, tumors with mutated p53 may not have a growth advantage. Our results suggest that overexpression of cyclin D1 plays a critical role during urinary bladder carcinogenesis.


Supported in part by grants-in-aid for cancer research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan and by a grant from the Japan Science and Technology Corporation, included in the Project of Core Research for Evolutional Science & Technology (CREST) in Japan.

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