Using mice to unveil the genetics of cancer resistance.
In the UK, four in ten people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, with an individual's relative risk depending on many factors, including age, lifestyle and genetic make-up. Much research has gone into identifying the genes that are mutated in tumorigenesis with the over-whelming majority of genetically-modified (GM) mice in cancer research showing accelerated tumorigenesis or recapitulating key aspects of the tumorigenic process. Yet if six out of ten people will not develop some form of cancer during their lifetime, together with the fact that some cancer patients experience spontaneous regression/remission, it suggests there are ways of 'resisting' cancer. Indeed, there are wildtype, spontaneously-arising mutants and GM mice that show some form of 'resistance' to cancer. Identification of mice with increased resistance to cancer is a novel aspect of cancer research that is important in terms of providing both chemopreventative and therapeutic options. In this review we describe the different mouse lines that display a 'cancer resistance' phenotype and discuss the molecular basis of their resistance. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.