Epidemiologic results tend to suggest that adults with Down syndrome have a reduced incidence of cancer, but some studies have reached the opposite conclusion. In this study, we offer direct biological evidence in support of the notion that Down syndrome reduces incidence of multiple types of cancer. Previous studies showed that introduction of the ApcMin mutation into the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome by interbreeding caused formation of intestinal adenomas at a significantly reduced incidence compared with control (euploid) animals that did not have trisomy. To a large degree, this reduction was determined to reflect an increased dosage of the Ets2 tumor repressor gene due to trisomy. Studies of tumor grafts using Ts65Dn suggested angiogenesis as a mechanism that mediated reduced tumor growth, metastasis, and mortality in individuals with Down syndrome. To confirm and extend these findings, we employed the complex cancer mouse model NPcis, which is heterozygous for the Trp53 and Nf1 genes and through LOH develops lymphomas, sarcomas, or carcinomas with 100% penetrance. In this aggressive model, trisomy did not prevent cancer, but it nevertheless extended host survival relative to euploid littermates. However, protection in this case was not attributable to either Ets2 dosage or to reduced angiogenesis. Together, our findings indicate that the genetic complexity underlying Down syndrome supports multiple mechanisms that contribute to reduced mortality from cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research