• Rat hepatocarcinogenesis model;
  • Lung metastasis;
  • N-Nitrosomorpholine;
  • Cadherin

We previously found by chance that N-nitrosomorpholine (NMOR) given after a multi-carcinogenic treatment induces liver carcinomas with 56% lung metastasis, and it was confirmed that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with 100% lung metastasis was produced by 24-week treatment with NMOR and additional treatment with diethylnitrosamine (DEN). In the present study, we modified the duration of NMOR to establish an animal model with a simple experimental protocol and an appropriate experimental duration which would facilitate further study of the mechanisms of metastasis and antimetastatic agents. The results revealed DEN exposure followed by a 16-week treatment with NMOR to be a most efficient method for the induction of HCC metastasizing to the lung. Loss of cadherin, demonstrated immunohistochemically, occurred in an early stage of carcinogenesis, and this was reflected in malignant conversion of primary lesions. This model, with its essential similarities to malignant tumor behavior in man, should find application not only for elucidation of the mechanisms underlying metastasis, but also in the development of anti-metastatic agents.