The Norway rat has for many years been widely used as an experimental model for the study of breast cancer etiology and prevention. Mammary cancer can be induced in rats by a variety of agents. The mammary cancers that develop in the various rat models resemble in many respects the breast cancers that develop in humans. It is now clear that significant differences exist between different rat models with respect to the genetic bases of susceptibility to mammary cancer as well as the somatic genetic events that are associated with development of mammary cancer. In this review I summarize our current understanding of the genetic and genomics of mammary cancer in the rat, compare and contrast the genetic/genomic features of different rat mammary cancer models and discuss the relevance of these models to breast cancer in humans.
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