Enhanced Malignant Progression of Mouse Skin Tumors by the Free-Radical Generator Benzoyl Peroxide

John F. O’Connell, Andres J.P. Klein-Szanto, Donna M. DiGiovanni, Jo Ann W. Fries, Thomas J. Slaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Chemical carcinogenesis in mouse skin can be divided into the processes of initiation, promotion, and progression. The free-radical generator benzoyl peroxide is moderately active during the promotion stage. Repetitive treatment of mouse benign skin tumors (papillomas) with benzoyl peroxide (20 mg, twice weekly) increased the number of cumulative carcinomas per group by 325% and the number of keratoacanthomas by 44% compared to tumor-bearing Sencar mice treated with the promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate. The lack of increase in the number of cumulative papillomas per group due to benzoyl peroxide treatment suggests that benzoyl peroxide enhanced the progression of preexisting papillomas. The ability of benzoyl peroxide to enhance the progression of benign tumors to cancer should be considered when determining the human risk from exposure to this widely used chemical agent; in addition, biological assays specifically testing malignant progression may be essential and beneficial for determining an agent's carcinogenic risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2863-2865
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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