Thomas J. Slaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Abstract: Skin carcinogenesis can be operationally and mechanistically divided into at least three stages; tumor initiation, stage I and stage II of promotion. Current information suggests that reactive intermediates of skin tumor initiators are mutagenic and bind convalently to DNA of epidermal stem cells (dark basal keratinocytes) leading to some irreversible alteration in the differentiation capacity of these cells. Inhibitors of skin tumor initiation by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) decrease the level of the PAH diol‐epoxide bound to specific DNA adducts. The tumor promoters have been shown to have many cellular and biochemical effects in the skin. Recent data suggests that free radicals may be important in skin tumor promotion. The first stage of promotion is partially irreversible and can be accomplished by a single treatment of a tumor promoter such as TPA or by non‐promoting agents such as 4‐O‐methyl‐TPA, calcium ionophore A23187, and hydrogen peroxide, as well as wounding. These agents increase the number of dark basal keratinocytes, which suggest that these cells are important in the first stage of promotion. Prostaglandin was found to specifically enhance stage I of promotion whereas the protease inhibitor tosyl phenylalanine chloromethylketone (TPCK) specially inhibited stage I of promotion and the TPA‐induced dark basal keratinocytes. The second stage of promotion is initially reversible but later becomes irreversible. The weak promoting agent mezerein is an effective stage II promoter. Polyamines and epidermal cell proliferation appear to be important events in stage II of promotion. Putrescine was found to specifically enhance stage II, whereas retinoic acid (RA), diflouromethylornithine (DFMO), and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) specially inhibited stage II of promotion and the mezerein‐induced polyamine levels. Floucinolone acetonide (FA) was found to inhibit both stages but was more effective in counteracting stage I of promotion. Although, TPA can cause a decrease in the number of glucocorticoid receptors during promotion, FA can effectively prevent this loss. Recent data suggest that skin tumor promotion can be effectively inhibited by a combination of stage I and II inhibitors. Furthermore, skin carcinogenesis can be counteracted by a combination of low and nontoxic doses of BHA, TPCK, DFMO and vitamin E. 1984 Nordic Pharmacological Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-124
Number of pages18
JournalActa Pharmacologica et Toxicologica
Issue number2 S
StatePublished - Sep 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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