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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Dec 6;91(25):12233-7.

Tobacco smoke tumor promoters, catechol and hydroquinone, induce oxidative regulation of protein kinase C and influence invasion and metastasis of lung carcinoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Neurobiology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033.


Cigarette smoke polyphenolic agents (catechol and hydroquinone) that generate oxidants have been shown to be tumor promoters. Furthermore, oxidants can influence protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated signal transduction. Since terpenoid tumor promoters, phorbol esters, increase invasion and metastasis by activating PKC, we have determined whether polyphenolic agents present in the cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) could also influence these events. Hydroquinone (50 microM), catechol (500 microM), or CSC (50 micrograms/ml) induced an initial cytosol-to-membrane translocation of PKC in LL/2 lung carcinoma cells, followed by a later down-regulation of the enzyme. LL/2 cells treated with these CSC-related agents for a limited time (45 min) and exhibiting high membrane-associated PKC activity, when injected into mice through the tail vein, produced an increase in metastatic nodules in the lungs after 20 days. However, cells treated with CSC-related agents for a prolonged period did not exhibit an increase in metastasis. Agents that decrease the rate of production of reactive oxygen species, such as catalase either alone or in combination with superoxide dismutase, and a cell-permeable iron-chelator, o-phenanthroline, inhibited CSC-mediated membrane association of PKC and metastasis. Prior treatment of CSC with tyrosinase to modify polyphenols resulted in a partial loss of CSC stimulation of metastasis. Furthermore, a cell-permeable Ca2+ chelator and diverse PKC inhibitors, such as calphostin C, hypericin, chelerythrine, and bisindolylmaleimide, inhibited CSC-enhanced metastasis. CSC increased in vitro tumor cell adhesion to endothelial monolayers and to reconstituted basement membrane (Matrigel) and also enhanced the invasion through Matrigel coated on the polycarbonate filters in Transwells. All these CSC effects were found to be temporary and were blocked by the above mentioned antioxidant systems and PKC inhibitors. Thus, these results suggest that the oxidants generated by autooxidation of polyphenolic agents present in tobacco smoke increase tumor cell invasion and metastasis, at least in part by activation of Ca2+/PKC signal transduction. Conceivably, cigarette smoke constituents not only promote tumorigenesis but also may increase the spread of cancer in the body.

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