Early detection of cancer is a key element in successful treatment of the disease. Understanding the particular type of cancer involved, its origins and probable course, is also important. PhIP (2-amino-1- methyl-6 phenylimidazo [4,5-b]pyridine), a heterocyclic amine produced during the cooking of meat at elevated temperatures, has been shown to induce mammary cancer in female, Sprague-Dawley rats. Tumors induced by PhIP have been shown to contain discreet cytogenetic signature patterns of gains and losses using comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). To determine if a protein signature exists for these tumors, we are analyzing expression levels of the protein products of the above-mentioned tumors in combination with a new bulk protein subtractive assay. This assay produces a panel of antibodies against proteins that are either on or off in the tumor. Hybridization of the antibody panel onto a 2-D gel of tumor or control protein will allow for identification of a distinct protein signature in the tumor. Analysis of several gene databases has identified a number of rat homologs of human cancer genes located in these regions of gain and loss. These genes include the oncogenes c-MYK, ERBB2/NEU, THRA and tumor suppressor genes EGR1 and HDAC3. The listed genes have been shown to be estrogen-responsive, suggesting a possible link between delivery of bio-activated PhIP to the cell nucleus via estrogen receptors and gene-specific PhIP-induced DNA damage, leading to cell transformation. All three tumors showed similar silver staining patterns compared to each other, while they all were different than the control tissue. Subsequent screening of these genes against those from tumors know to be caused by other agents may produce a protein signature unique to PhIP, which can be used as a diagnostic to augment optical and radiation-based detection schemes.