The purpose of our study was to determine the effect of combined action of phytochemicals on early stages of skin tumorgenesis, i.e., initiation and promotion. We tested calcium D-glucarate (CG) given in the diet, while resveratrol (RES) and ursolic acid (URA) were applied topically. The 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-initiated, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-promoted multistage skin carcinogenesis model in SENCAR mice was used. Mice (6-7 weeks old) with shaved backs received one topical dose of DMBA (20 nmol), then after one month, two weekly doses (2 µg each) of TPA (tumor promoter) for 14 weeks until sacrifice. The phytochemicals RES (2.5 μmol) or URA (1 μmol) were applied topically 20 min prior to DMBA or TPA treatment and 2% dietary CG was given in the AIN-93G diet from 2 weeks prior to 2 weeks after the DMBA dose or continually beginning 2 weeks prior to the first dose of TPA. We determined the tumor incidence (% of mice with tumors) and tumor multiplicity (number of tumors per mouse) and using RT-PCR and immunochistochemical analyses, we checked the expression of some cell proliferation and inflammation related genes. URA applied alone and in combination with CG during the promotion stage was a strong inhibitor of tumor multiplicity and tumor incidence. Combinations of URA with dietary CG appeared to show some synergistic effects. All compounds and their combinations reduced epidermal proliferation, but only URA and a combination CG/URA applied during promotion significantly reduced hyperplasia, as determined by epidermal thickness measurements taken at 14 weeks of TPA treatment. DMBA/TPA treatments resulted in epidermal hyperplasia, characterized by significant increase in transcription factor AP-1 components and nuclear factor kappa B (NFkB) expression levels with a simultaneously increased expression of the inflammation markers COX-2 and IL-6, compared to untreated controls. All anti-promotion treatments (either single compounds or their combinations) caused a marked decrease of inflammation related genes levels compared to the DMBA/TPA control. On the other hand, only URA and URA with dietary CG diminished the induced expression of proto-oncogenes c-jun and c-fos (components of AP-1) and the expression of NFkB protein p50. These results show that URA is a potent inhibitor of skin tumor promotion and it may be useful in the prevention of skin cancer and other epithelial cancers in humans. Supported by NIH grants CA 102747 and P30 CA 54174-16S1.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2010;70(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 3470.