Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are regarded as hazardous by-products of mitochondrial respiration. In addition to the respiratory
chain, specific ROS-generating systems have evolved. In particular, p66Shc is a mitochondrial redox protein that oxidizes cytochrome
c to generate H2O2. Consistently, the deletion of p66Shc in cells and tissue results in reduced levels of ROS and oxidative stress.
Taking advantage of the p66Shc knock out (p66KO) mouse model of decreased ROS production, we assessed the role of endogenouslyproduced
ROS in tumorigenesis.
Spontaneous tumor incidence was investigated and found unaltered in two different strains, 129Sv and C57Bl/6J, p66KO mice. In addition,
papilloma formation upon exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) or 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-
13-acetate (DMBA/TPA) was found to be slightly lower in the absence of p66Shc. The role of p66Shc in tumorigenesis was also investigated
in the absence of the tumor suppressor gene p53 (p53KO) by generating p53-p66Shc double knock out (DKO) mice. Notably, DKO
mice displayed a significantly increased lifespan compared to p53KO mice. In addition, 2-deoxy-2-(18F)fluoro-D-glucose Positron Emission
Tomography ([18F]FDG PET) analysis allowed to determine that disease onset occurred later in life in DKO mice compared to
p53KO and that a low percentage of these mice did not develop tumors. Overall, these results indicate that although tumor incidence is
not decreased in p66KO mice, p66Shc contributes to tumor initiation, in particular upon activation by carcinogens as well as when p53-
mediated tumor suppression mechanisms defect.