Soft tissue sarcomas are mesenchymal tumors that are fatal in approximately one-third of patients. To explore mechanisms of sarcoma pathogenesis, we have generated a mouse model of soft tissue sarcoma. Intramuscular delivery of an adenovirus expressing Cre recombinase in mice with conditional mutations in Kras and Trp53 was sufficient to initiate high-grade sarcomas with myofibroblastic differentiation. Like human sarcomas, these tumors show a predilection for lung rather than lymph node metastasis. Using this model, we showed that a prototype handheld imaging device can identify residual tumor during intraoperative molecular imaging. Deletion of the Ink4a-Arf locus (Cdkn2a), but not Bak1 and Bax, could substitute for mutation of Trp53 in this model. Deletion of Bak1 and Bax, however, was able to substitute for mutation of Trp53 in the development of sinonasal adenocarcinoma. Therefore, the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis seems sufficient to mediate p53 tumor suppression in an epithelial cancer, but not in this model of soft tissue sarcoma.
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