The effects of bombesin on the incidence, number, histological type, and depth of involvement of gastric cancers induced by N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG) were investigated in male Wistar rats. Rats received alternate-day s.c. administration of 20 or 40 µg/kg body weight of bombesin in depot form after p.o. treatment with the carcinogen for 25 weeks. Prolonged administration of bombesin at 40 µg/kg led to a significant increase in the incidence and number per rat of gastric cancers of the glandular stomach at Week 52. In rats that had received alternate-day injections of 20 µg/kg of bombesin, the number of gastric cancers per rat, but not the incidence of cancer, was significantly more than in untreated rats. However, bombesin at both dosages did not affect the histological appearance of the lesions or their depth of involvement. At Weeks 30 and 52, norepinephrine concentrations in the fundic and antral portion of the gastric walls and labeling indices in the antral and fundic mucosae were significantly higher in rats treated with bombesin at both dosages than in untreated rats. These findings indicate that bombesin enhances gastric carcinogenesis after administration of N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine is stopped and that this effect may be related to its effects in increasing tissue norepinephrine concentrations in the stomach wall and increasing cell proliferation in the gastric mucosa.

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