Neoplastic conversion of human keratinocytes by adenovirus 12-SV40 virus and chemical carcinogens

Science  18 Apr 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4748, pp. 385-388
DOI: 10.1126/science.2421406


Efforts to investigate the progression of events that lead human cells of epithelial origin to become neoplastic in response to carcinogenic agents have been aided by the development of tissue culture systems for propagation of epithelial cells. In the present study, nontumorigenic human epidermal keratinocytes immortalized by adenovirus 12 and simian virus 40 (Ad 12-SV40) were transformed by treatment with the chemical carcinogens N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine or 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide. Such transformants showed morphological alterations and induced carcinomas when transplanted into nude mice, whereas primary human epidermal keratinocytes treated with these chemical carcinogens failed to show any evidence of transformation. This in vitro system may be useful in assessing environmental carcinogens for human epithelial cells and in detecting new human oncogenes.