This investigation is part of a continuing effort to develop effective chemoprevention for carcinogenesis of the lung. The present study explores the use of aerosol administrations for this purpose. The agent selected for initial study was the synthetic glucocorticoid budesonide. This selection was based on previous work in which budesonide added to the diet was found to inhibit pulmonary adenoma formation in female A/J mice. However, high dose levels were required, i.e., of the order of 300 µg/kg, of body weight [L. W. Wattenberg and R. D. Estensen, Carcinogenesis (Lond.), 18: 2015–2017, 1997]. For aerosol administration of budesonide, a nose-only technique has been developed that entails nebulization of the compound dissolved in ethanol and subsequent stripping off of the solvent (less than 3 µl ethanol/liter of air remaining at the site of inhalation). The budesonide particles produced by the apparatus had a mass median aerodynamic diameter of less than 1 µm. An experiment has been carried out in which the inhibitory effects of aerosolized budesonide, given for 1 min six times a week, were studied. Concentrations of budesonide of 26, 81, and 148 µg/liter of air (calculated doses of 23, 72, and 126 µg/kg of body weight) were used. The aerosols were started 1 week after three oral administrations of benzo(a)pyrene (2 mg/20 g of body weight) to female A/J mice. All three doses of budesonide resulted in more than 80% inhibition of pulmonary tumor formation compared to the aerosol control and 90% or greater compared to mice not exposed to aerosol. The difference in inhibition is due to the aerosol procedure itself, which produces a reduction in tumor formation. A decrease in splenic weight (evidence of a systemic effect) occurred at all doses of budesonide. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first published effort at the use of aerosol administration to prevent neoplasia of the respiratory tract. The results of the present study show that administration of a potential chemopreventive agent by aerosol at a low dose can inhibit the occurrence of pulmonary carcinogenesis in female A/J mice.


This work was supported by National Cancer Institute Contract No. N01-CN-55177.

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