Testicular Cancer in Mice following DES Administration

Induction of Testicular Turnors and Other Effects of Stilbestrol-Cholesterol Pellets in Strain C Mice, 1941



In this communication is reported the reaction of mice of strain C and strain C mice foster nursed bv C3H females to stilbestrol. Particular reference is made to the development of a method of administering the estrogen as a single implantation in the form of stilbestrol-cholesterol pellets, and to the induction of primary testicular tumors of the interstitial-cell type. During the preceding year (1940), two reports, one by Bonser and Robson and the other bv Hooker, Gardner, and Pfeiffer, described the induction of primary interstitial-cell tumors of the testis in strain A mice following massive treatment with estrogens. Two of the reported tumors metastasized to the regional lymph nodes.

Strain C mice are an albino stock inbred by Dr. E. C. MacDowell from animals originally received from Dr. H. G. Bagg. The mice used in the present investigation are descendants of an F35 litter obtained from Snell, of the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine. The colony, continued by brother-tosister matings, is now in the F48 to F50 generations.

Strain C mice that are maintained at the National Cancer Institute develop a high incidence of spontaneous lymphoid tumors after the age of 16 months; the incidence rises gradually to about 50 percent at the age of 24 to 27 months. Pulmonary tumors begin to appear when the animals are 10 to 11 months of age, and the incidence rises to about 30 percent when they are 18 to 24 months old. The breeding females have an incidence of less than 2 percent of mammary carcinoma; but when they are foster nursed by C3H females, the incidence rises to over 60 percent. Spontaneous tumors involving the salivary glands occur in the stock. Spontaneous or induced tumors of the testis have not been described or noted in this strain.


  1. An adequate method of single administration of estrogens to mice for experiments in carcinogenesis was developed, using 4-to-6-mg. pellets containing 10 to 25 percent of stilbestrol in cholesterol.
  2. Thirteen primary interstitial-cell tumors of the testis were induced in strain C mice following subcutaneous implantation of stilbestrol-cholesterol pellets. Three of the tumors metastasized to the region above the left kidney, and one allo to the lung.
  3. The appearance of lymphoid tumors was accelerated in strain C mice following the subcutaneous implantation of stilbestrol-cholesterol pellets.
  4. Male and female mice of strain C were resistant to the induction of mammary carcinomas following treatment with stilbestrol. The incidence of mammary tumors rose to about 50 percent when the mice were nursed by C3H females and received stilbestrol pellets.
  5. Foster nursing exerted no influence upon the induction of interstitial-cell hyperplasia and tumors of the testis, or upon the occurrence of brown degeneration of the adrenals, or upon the histologic appearance of the ovary in strain C mice.


  • Induction of Testicular Turnors and Other Effects of Stilbestrol-Cholesterol Pellets in Strain C Mice, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 65–80, doi.org/10.1093/jnci/2.1.65, August 1941.
  • Featured image credit thegolfclub.

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