An important molecular approach for the study of the complex processes implicated in prostatic carcinogenesis is the determination of steady-state mRNA levels of potentially relevant genes. One important category of these genes are the proto-oncogenes. Previous studies on the involvement of oncogenes in prostatic carcinogenesis, using primary human prostatic tumors, have shown that the ras and myc oncogenes might be related to the progression of this disease. We tested this hypothesis in the Dunning R-3327 rat prostatic cancer model system, which consists of a series of sublines that represent the different stages of tumor progression in prostatic cancer. We could not show a correlation between the expression of the ras and myc proto-oncogenes and the state of progression of the disease. The levels and patterns of expression of other proto-oncogenes, however, might be more useful as markers for malignancy and/or progression of prostatic cancer in rats.
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