Inhibition of mouse skin tumor promotion and of promoter-stimulated epidermal polyamine biosynthesis by α-difluoromethylornithine

Masaharu Takigawa, R. C. Simsiman, R. K. Boutwell, Ajit K. Verma

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128 Citations (Scopus)


Application of the tumor-promoting agent 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) to mouse skin leads to a manifold induction of omithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity within 5 hr and an increased accumulation of putrescine. The relevance of these TPA-induced changes to the mechanism of tumor promotion was investigated using α-difluoromethylomithine (DFMO), an irreversible inhibitor of ODC. DFMO applied to mouse skin (0.3 mg in 0.2 ml of solvent) or administered in the drinking water (1%) in conjunction with skin tumor promotion by TPA inhibited the formation of mouse skin papillomas by 50 and 90%, respectively. TPA-induced ODC activity and the accumulation of putrescine were almost completely inhibited. DFMO given in the drinking water decreased spermidine levels, but DFMO treatment by any route did not alter the spermine levels of mouse epidermis. DFMO decreased TPA-induced hyperplasia by 25 to 40%, and the TPA-caused increases in DNA synthesis and mitotic index were inhibited by 60 and 50%, respectively. Therefore, in mouse epidermis, enhanced cell proliferation can be dissociated from ODC induction and the accumulation of putrescine. At the tested dose levels and routes of administration, DFMO did not inhibit the inflammatory response to TPA in several tissues. These results provide evidence for an essential role of ODC induction and the accumulation of putrescine in tumor promotion by TPA and add strength to the proposal that DFMO may be a promising drug for the prevention and treatment of cancer in human beings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3732-3738
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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