Pathogenesis of Plasmacytomas in Mice

  • Michael Potter
Part of the Cancer, A Comprehensive Treatise book series (C)


The malignant plasmacytoma is a rare tumor type that occurs naturally in several mammals—the dog (Osborne et al., 1968), the cat (Farrow and Penny, 1971), the hamster (Cotran and Fortner, 1962), the rat (Bazin et al., 1972), the mouse (Dunn, 1954, 1957), and man (Azar, 1973). Because plasmacytomas occur infrequently, it is difficult to study their pathogenesis. It is possible, however, to induce plasmacytomas in high frequency in a few uniquely susceptible inbred strains of mice by the intraperitoneal implantation of solid plastic materials (Merwin and Algire, 1959; Merwin and Redmon, 1963) or the intraperitoneal injection of mineral oils and related substances (Potter and Robertson, 1960; Potter and Boyce, 1962; Anderson and Potter, 1969). While this unusual method of induction is a laboratory method and has no apparent relationship to any known natural form of plasmacytoma development, it provides a means for studying the pathogenesis of plasmacytomas. In many forms of carcinogenesis, a specific differentiated cell type is the selective target. The reasons for cytotropism in the carcinogenic process are an intriguing problem. In plasma cell tumor formation in mice, the problem is even more complex because a segment of the plasma cell population appears particularly vulnerable. At present, immunology is an area of biology that has captured broad interest, and from many investigations have come a wealth of data on the differentiation, development, physiology, and proliferation of plasma cells. These data provide the background for understanding the normal plasma cell and the process of plasmacytoma formation. In this chapter, the pathogenesis of the induction of peritoneal plasmacytomas will be the main topic. The underlying mechanisms of peritoneal plasmacytoma formation in the mouse are not yet established, but it is hoped that insight gained from this study will provide a basis for understanding how plasmacytomas may develop “spontaneously” in the mouse and in other species, including man.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Potter
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cell BiologyNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA

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