Behavior of metastatic and nonmetastatic breast tumors in old mice

Claudia Gravekamp, Roza Sypniewska, Susan Gauntt, Melissa Tarango, Paul Price, Robert Reddick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Breast cancer incidence and mortality increase with age. A better understanding of the biological behavior of metastatic and nonmetastatic breast tumors in older subjects may help to develop improved breast cancer therapies. In this study, we used syngeneic metastatic (4TO7cg) and nonmetastatic (64pT) mouse breast tumor models at three age levels to evaluate various characteristics that are considered to be important for effective anti-breast cancer immunotherapy. These included tumor size and growth, metastases, vascularization, gene expression levels of the tumor-associated antigen (TAA) Mage-b (homologous to human MAGE-B) in primary breast tumors and metastases, and the presence of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the inguinal lymph nodes at the site of the tumor. The primary breast tumors and metastases were generated by injection of mouse mammary tumor cell lines 4TO7cg or 64pT into a mammary fat pad of normal 3-, 9-, or 21/24-month old BALB/c mice. In the nonmetastatic breast tumor model, significantly smaller tumors were observed in old compared with young mice. This was associated with a significant Increase in the percentage of CD8+ T cells in inguinal lymph nodes and significantly higher Mage-b expression levels in the primary tumors at old age. In the metastatic (4TO7cg) breast tumor model, a less pronounced, not statistically significant, smaller tumor size was found in the old mice, without a difference in the percentage of CD8+ T cells or Mage-b expression levels. However, in this mouse model almost all metastases showed high levels of Mage-b expression (2- to 3-fold higher than the primary tumors in the same animals) regardless of age. These results indicate that the metastatic and nonmetastatic breast tumor models could be useful model systems to analyze how breast cancer vaccines for humans can be tailored to old age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-675
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • 4TO7cg
  • 64pT
  • Aging
  • Mage-b expression
  • Metastatic breast tumor model
  • Nonmetastatic breast tumor model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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