Oxidative stress has been suggested to play an integral role in the cancer process. It may be particularly significant during tumor progression, where there is likely to be a large amount of free radicals generated by infiltrating inflammatory cells and dying tumor cells. In order to test this hypothesis, a variety of free radical scavengers and antioxidants were assessed for their ability to inhibit tumor progression. The murine skin multistage carcinogenesis model was used to generate papillomas, which are a population of putative precancerous lesions. Various test agents were applied topically to papillomas in order to determine if they would decrease the incidence of the malignant lesion, squamous cell carcinoma. The agents tested included: reduced glutathione (GSH), butylated hydroxyanisole, vitamin E, copper(II) (3, 5-diisopropylsalicylate)2, sodium benzoate, N-acetylcysteine and disulfiram. Under the conditions of our experiments, only GSH and disulfiram inhibited tumor progression to a significant degree. Additional studies indicated that GSH prevented cancer development in a dose-dependent manner. Another experiment demonstrated that when papillomas received repeated topical applications of diethylmaleate, a GSH-depleting agent, tumor progression was enhanced. Collectively these data suggest that sufficient glutathione levels may be important in preventing cancer formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research