Mouse mammary tumors: alteration of incidence as apparent function of stress

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Science  08 Aug 1975:
Vol. 189, Issue 4201, pp. 465-467
DOI: 10.1126/science.168638


Eighty to 100 percent of female mice of the C3H/He strain carrying the Bittner oncogenic virus usually develop mammary tumors within 8 to 18 months after birth when studied under the usual housing and experimental conditions. By subjecting various groups of such mice to environmental circumstances providing different degrees of chronic stress, mammary tumor incidence at 400 days was modified, with incidences ranging from 92 percent under stress to 7 percent in a protected environment. The data suggest that moderate chronic or intermittent stress may predispose such mice to an increased risk of mammary carcinoma, possibly through a resultant compromise of their immunological competence or tumor surveillance system, and that adequate protection from physiological stress may reduce mammary tumor occurrence in mice.

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