Radiation induces genomic instability and mammary ductal dysplasia in Atm heterozygous mice

Michael M. Weil, Frances S. Kittrell, Yongjia Yu, Maureen McCarthy, Ryan C. Zabriskie, Robert Ullrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) is a genetic syndrome resulting from the inheritance of two defective copies of the ATM gene that includes among its stigmata radiosensitivity and cancer susceptibility. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that although women with a single defective copy of ATM (AT heterozygotes) appear clinically normal, they may never the less have an increased relative risk of developing breast cancer. Whether they are at increased risk for radiation-induced breast cancer from medical exposures to ionizing radiation is unknown. We have used a murine model of AT to investigate the effect of a single defective Atm allele, the murine homologue of ATM, on the susceptibility of mammary epithelial cells to radiation-induced transformation. Here we report that mammary epithelial cells from irradiated mice with one copy of Atm truncated in the PI-3 kinase domain were susceptible to radiation-induced genomic instability and generated a 10% incidence of dysplastic mammary ducts when transplanted into syngenic recipients, whereas cells from Atm+/+ mice were stable and formed only normal ducts. Since radiation-induced ductal dysplasia is a precursor to mammary cancer, the results indicate that AT heterozygosity increases susceptibility to radiogenic breast cancer in this murine model system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4409-4411
Number of pages3
Issue number32
StatePublished - Jul 19 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Ataxia-telangiectasia
  • Breast cancer
  • Genomic instability
  • Radiation effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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