Hepatocellular carcinoma is increasingly important in the United States as the incidence rate rose over the last 30 years. C3HeB/FeJ mice serve as a unique model to study hepatocellular carcinoma tumorigenesis because they mimic human hepatocellular carcinoma with delayed onset, male gender bias, approximately 50% incidence, and susceptibility to tumorigenesis is mediated through multiple genetic loci. Because a human O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (hMGMT) transgene reduces spontaneous tumorigenesis in this model, we hypothesized that hMGMT would also protect from methylationinduced hepatocarcinogenesis. To test this hypothesis, wild-type and hMGMT transgenic C3HeB/FeJ male mice were treated with two monofunctional alkylating agents: diethylnitrosamine (DEN; 0.025 μmol/g body weight) on day 12 of life with evaluation for glucose-6-phosphatase-deficient (G6PD) foci at 16, 24, and 32 weeks or N-methyl-N-nitrosurea (MNU; 25 mg MNU/kg body weight) once monthly for 7 months starting at 3 months of age with evaluation for liver tumors at 12 to 15 months of age. No difference in abundance or size of G6PD foci was measured with DEN treatment. In contrast, it was unexpectedly found that MNU reduces liver tumor prevalence in wildtype and hMGMT transgenic mice despite increased tumor prevalence in other tissues. hMGMT and MNU protections were additive, suggesting that MNU protects through a different mechanism, perhaps through the cytotoxic N7-alkylguanine and N3-alkyladenine lesions which have low mutagenic potential compared with O6-alkylguanine lesions. Together, these results suggest that targeting the repair of cytotoxic lesions may be a good preventative for patients at high risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research