Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in humans worldwide. There is strong evidence that the tobacco-specific nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) and its metabolite 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) play an important role in carcinogenesis caused by tobacco products. NNK and racemic NNAL are reported to induce lung and pancreatic tumors in rats. The carcinogenicity in Fischer 344 rats of NNK, NNAL, and its enantiomers (R)-NNAL and (S)-NNAL has been studied recently, and all test compounds induced significant numbers of lung tumors. We report here the detailed histopathological and immunohistochemical characterization of these tumors and their aggressive nature as shown by their metastasis locally and to the pancreas. The spectrum of treatment-related histopathological findings comprised pulmonary alveolar/bronchiolar (A/B) epithelial hyperplasia, A/B adenomas, and A/B carcinomas. A/B carcinomas frequently exhibited local invasion/metastasis within the mediastinum and thoracic cavity and distant metastasis to the pancreas that was confirmed by immunohistochemistry using the lung-specific markers prosurfactant protein-C and club (Clara) cell-10. Our observation regarding metastasis to the pancreas was an important, and unexpected, finding in this study both for the experimental animal model and potential human relevance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by U. S. National Cancer Institute grant (CA-81301).
- pancreatic metastasis
- pulmonary tumors
- smokeless tobacco