Transgenic mice that contain constructs of the L-myc gene under the transcriptional control of the immunoglobulin heavy chain enhancer (E mu) develop thymic hyperplasia and are predisposed to T cell lymphomas. Here we describe a second form of malignancy that occurs in aging E mu L-myc transgenic mice. The mean latency period for the development of this malignancy is longer compared with the E mu L-myc T cell lymphomas but the overall incidence is increased threefold. The histopathological morphology is that of a highly malignant mesenchymal neoplasm that closely resembles human fibrous histiocytoma. The tumor cells were classified as myelomonocytic on the basis of several lineage-specific markers and the lack of rearrangements of the immunoglobulin heavy chain and the T cell receptor beta loci. Cultured tumor cells produce macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) protein and express the M-CSF receptor, suggesting the involvement of an autocrine loop in this malignancy. Similar to the E mu L-myc T cell lymphomas, these tumors show high-level transgene expression but no detectable levels of endogenous c-myc mRNA, directly implicating the deregulated expression of L-myc in the generation of this malignancy. E mu L-myc myelomonocytic tumors show consistent trisomy of chromosome 16, implicating this as a secondary event in the development of this tumor. In the light of recent findings that L-myc is expressed in human myeloid leukemias and in several human myeloid tumor cell lines, the results described here might implicate L-myc in the development of naturally occurring myeloid neoplasias.

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