Indomethacin, a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agent which inhibits prostaglandin biosynthesis, is an effective inhibitor of mammary carcinogenesis in rats. However, the activity of indomethacin as a chemopreventive agent is limited by toxicity. The present studies were conducted to determine if the toxic and anticarcinogenic effects of indomethacin can be modified by the phenolic antioxidant, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Simultaneous administration of BHT resulted in a dose-related inhibition of indomethacin toxicity in female Sprague-Dawley rats, and increased the tolerable indomethacin dose from 50 to 150 mg/kg diet. When BHT (5000 mg/kg diet) and indomethacin (50 mg/kg diet) were administered in combination, no increased inhibition of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced mammary carcinogenesis was observed above that attained by administration of BHT alone or indomethacin alone at those doses. However, when the indomethacin dose was increased to 100 mg/kg diet, an enhanced inhibition of carcinogenesis was attained when BHT and indomethacin were administered from 2 weeks prior to until 1 week after 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene administration. These data indicate that “combination chemoprevention” regimens can be utilized to reduce the toxicity of anticarcinogenic drugs. However, the BHT-indomethacin interaction appears to involve a functional or dispositional antagonism which limits the anticarcinogenic efficacy of increasing indomethacin dose level.


Supported by Grant CA-30646 and Contract NO1-CP-41063 from the National Cancer Institute, DHHS. Presented in part at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, May 9–12, 1984 (1).

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