Recent identification of genetic alterations in colon polyps and tumors has allowed construction of a hypothesis for the molecular basis of colon carcinogenesis. The consistency of observed genetic changes has inspired enthusiastic anticipation of new diagnostic tools and interventions for colon cancer. Appropriate animal models are crucial to the testing of molecular postulates as well as the development of markers and therapies for colon carcinogenesis. We discuss herein the various animal models that are currently used for the study of colon cancer as well as those that hold promise for the future. The contributions, drawbacks, and potential uses for the chemical carcinogen model, the multiple intestinal neoplasia model, transgenic animals, and the reconstruction model in the study of colon carcinoma are presented.
(Arch Surg. 1993;128:647-653)