Mammary tumors in splenectomized rats

George Kossoy, Herzl Ben-Hur, Oscar Lifschitz, Itshak Zusman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to examine how splenectomy affects the immune response, particularly T cells, in chemically-induced mammary tumors. Female rats were splenectomized and then exposed to 9,10-dimethyl-1,2-benz(a) anthracene (DMBA) to induce mammary tumors. Splenectomy significantly decreased the rate of tumor appearance and their malignant transformation. The tumor latency period in splenectomized rats was 12.0±0.9 weeks compared to 9.7±0.5 wk in intact controls, and malignancy appeared in 45% of splenectomized rats, compared to 70% in controls. By the end of the experiment, the total number of tumors and their size were similar in both groups. Blood CD4+ and CD8+ T cell concentrations were similar in tumor-bearing and tumor-free splenectomized animals, but in both groups CD4 - and CD8- lymphocytes decreased sharply compared to control animals. In tumor-bearing rats, splenectomy also resulted in significantly more circulating natural killer cells. The spleens of tumor-bearing control rats had significantly fewer CD4+ and CD8 + lymphocytes and more CD4- and CD8- lymphocytes and natural killer cells than did their blood. In conclusion, splenectomy inhibits the early stages of tumorigenesis and reduces the rate of malignant transformation of benign tumors, but does not prevent the progress of carcinogenesis. Differences between splenectomized (operated) and intact rats to the effect of DMBA can be explained by an increase in non-specific resistance of splenectomized rats as a result of operation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-188
Number of pages4
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Mammary gland tumors
  • Splenectomy
  • T lymphocytes


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