Young, rapidly growing mice are greatly more responsive to the adenoma-inducing influence of urethane than are those just arriving at maturity. This is manifest both in the proportion of animals developing the tumors and in their number per individual. An amount of urethane per gram body weight which suffices to induce adenomas in only an occasional 8-week-old animal will cause them to appear in quantity in more than half the 3-week-old mice injected. There is an almost absolute inverse correlation between the rate of growth of the pulmonary tissue between the ages of 2 and 10 weeks and the response to urethane in terms of adenomas. Hence the conclusion seems justified that the natural proliferative activity of the alveolar cells during youth plays a major part in the formation of the tumors. After the 6th week the age differences become relatively slight, yet there is reason to think that they continue in some degree as life goes on.
Urethane has no effect to promote multiplication of the cells it has rendered neoplastic, its whole role being to initiate neoplastic change.
The abnormalities induced by urethane in the nucleus of normal and neoplastic cells, as observed by previous workers, have suggested that the substance brings about the adenomatous state by acting upon the nucleus. But colchicine, also a karyolytic poison causing pronounced nuclear changes, does not alter in the least the yield of adenomas to urethane when administered concurrently. Nor does fasting influence the yield, though it markedly reduces mitotic activity.
The meaning of these facts is discussed.