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Chem Biol Interact. 2003 Oct 25;146(2):179-90.

Comparative action of 1,4-phenylenebis(methylene)selenocyanate and its metabolites against 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-DNA adduct formation in the rat and cell proliferation in rat mammary tumor cells.

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  • 1American Health Foundation Cancer Center, Institute for Cancer Prevention, 1 Dana Road, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.


1,4-phenylenebis(methylene)selenocyanate (p-XSC) inhibits 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary carcinogenesis and DMBA-DNA binding in the rat mammary gland. Tetraselenocyclophane (TSC) was identified in rat feces as a metabolite of p-XSC. This led us to postulate the metabolic pathway: p-XSC-->glutathione conjugate (p-XSeSG)-->aromatic selenol (p-XSeH)-->TSC. Whether p-XSC or one of its metabolites is responsible for cancer prevention is the focus of this study. We utilized the DMBA-DNA binding assay with p-XSC as a positive control to evaluate the chemopreventive potential of p-XSC metabolites at dietary selenium levels of 10 ppm. Rats were fed AIN-76A diet supplemented with various selenium compounds for 1 week prior to the oral administration of a single dose of [3H]DMBA (5 mg per rat, specific activity 51.3 mCi/mmol). The rats were sacrificed 24 h later and DNA was isolated from the mammary fat pads. Relative levels of total binding were: [pmol/mg DNA, mean +/- S.D., n=6]; DMBA [7.2 +/- 1.6]; DMBA+p-XSC [3.5 +/- 2.7]; DMBA+p-XSeSG [2.2 +/- 1.1]; DMBA+TSC [5.6 +/- 2.9]. All selenium compounds, except TSC, significantly inhibited DMBA-DNA adduct formation; however, the difference between p-XSC and p-XSeSG was not statistically significant. The inhibition of total binding was attributed to a reduction in the formation of the three major adducts derived from bay-region diol epoxides of DMBA. On the basis of their chromatographic characteristics, these were identified as anti-diol-epoxide:deoxyguanosine, syn-diol-epoxide:deoxyadenosine, and anti-diol-epoxide:deoxyadenosine. Our results suggest that p-XSeSG, but not TSC, is the likely inhibitor of mammary cancer. Selenium levels measured by atomic absorption spectroscopy in the target organ (mammary fat pads) and in plasma following the dietary administration of selenium compounds were in the order of p-XSeSG congruent with p-XSC>TSC. These results appear to be consistent with their order of inhibitory effects on total DMBA-DNA binding. Further in vitro studies of the effect of selenium compounds on cell proliferation suggest that, depending on the dose and time point selected, p-XSC is comparable to or better than p-XSeSG; but both are more effective than TSC. Collectively, our in vivo and in vitro results indicate that p-XSC and its conjugate are better candidates than TSC for future studies on mammary cancer chemoprevention.

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