Colorectal cancer is a very frequent sort of neoplasm among the population, with a high mortality rate. It develops from an association of genetic and environmental factors, and it is related to multiple cell signaling pathways. Cell cultures and animal models are used in research to reproduce the process of disease development in humans. Of the existing animal models, the most commonly used are animals with tumors induced by chemical agents and genetically modified animals.
To present and synthesize the main animal models of colorectal carcinogenesis used in the research, comparing its advantages and disadvantages.
This literature review was performed through the search for scientific articles over the last 18 years in PubMed and Science Direct databases, by using keywords such as “animal models”, “colorectal carcinogenesis” and “tumor induction”.
1,2-dimethylhydrazine and azoxymethane are carcinogenic agents with high specificity for the small and large intestine regions. Therefore, the two substances are widely used. Concerning the genetically modified animal models, there is a larger number of studies concerning mutations of the APC, p53 and K-ras genes. Animals with the APC gene mutation develop colorectal neoplasms, whereas animals with p53 and K-ras genes mutations are able to potentiate the effects of the APC gene mutation as well as the chemical inducers.
Each animal model has advantages and disadvantages, and some are individually efficient as to the induction of carcinogenesis, and in other cases the association of two forms of induction is the best way to obtain representative results of carcinogenesis in humans.
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