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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012 Nov 1;264(3):377-86. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2012.08.014. Epub 2012 Aug 23.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons as skin carcinogens: comparison of benzo[a]pyrene, dibenzo[def,p]chrysene and three environmental mixtures in the FVB/N mouse.

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  • 1Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Oregon State University, USA.


The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), was compared to dibenzo[def,p]chrysene (DBC) and combinations of three environmental PAH mixtures (coal tar, diesel particulate and cigarette smoke condensate) using a two stage, FVB/N mouse skin tumor model. DBC (4nmol) was most potent, reaching 100% tumor incidence with a shorter latency to tumor formation, less than 20 weeks of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) promotion compared to all other treatments. Multiplicity was 4 times greater than BaP (400 nmol). Both PAHs produced primarily papillomas followed by squamous cell carcinoma and carcinoma in situ. Diesel particulate extract (1 mg SRM 1650b; mix 1) did not differ from toluene controls and failed to elicit a carcinogenic response. Addition of coal tar extract (1 mg SRM 1597a; mix 2) produced a response similar to BaP. Further addition of 2 mg of cigarette smoke condensate (mix 3) did not alter the response with mix 2. PAH-DNA adducts measured in epidermis 12 h post initiation and analyzed by ³²P post-labeling, did not correlate with tumor incidence. PAH-dependent alteration in transcriptome of skin 12 h post initiation was assessed by microarray. Principal component analysis (sum of all treatments) of the 922 significantly altered genes (p<0.05), showed DBC and BaP to cluster distinct from PAH mixtures and each other. BaP and mixtures up-regulated phase 1 and phase 2 metabolizing enzymes while DBC did not. The carcinogenicity with DBC and two of the mixtures was much greater than would be predicted based on published Relative Potency Factors (RPFs).

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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