Effects of combined phytochemicals on skin tumorigenesis in SENCAR mice

Magdalena C. Kowalczyk, Jacob J. Junco, Piotr Kowalczyk, Olga Tolstykh, Margaret Hanausek, Thomas J. Slaga, Zbigniew Walaszek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The purpose of our study was to determine the effect of the combined action of phytochemicals on the early stages of skin tumorigenesis, i.e. initiation and promotion. We tested calcium D-glucarate (CG) given in the diet, while resveratrol (RES) and ursolic acid (UA) 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 received one topical dose of DMBA, then after one month, two weekly doses of TPA for 14 weeks until sacrifice. RES or UA were applied 20 min prior to DMBA or TPA treatment and 2% dietary CG was given from 2 weeks prior to 2 weeks after the DMBA dose or continually beginning 2 weeks prior to the first dose of TPA. UA applied alone and in combination with CG during the promotion stage was the only inhibitor of tumor multiplicity and tumor incidence. A number of combinations reduced epidermal proliferation, but only UA and the combination UA+CG applied during promotion significantly reduced epidermal hyperplasia. DMBA/TPA application resulted in significant increases in c-jun and p50, which were reversed by a number of different treatments. DMBA/TPA treatment also strongly increased mRNA levels of inflammation markers COX-2 and IL-6. All anti-promotion treatments caused a marked decrease in COX-2 and IL-6 expression compared to the DMBA/TPA control. These results show that UA is a potent inhibitor of skin tumor promotion and inflammatory signaling and it may be useful in the prevention of skin cancer and other epithelial cancers in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-918
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Carcinogenesis
  • Phytochemicals
  • Prevention
  • SENCAR mice
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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