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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Feb 29;97(5):2196-201.

Vitamin E reduces chromosomal damage and inhibits hepatic tumor formation in a transgenic mouse model.

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  • 1Laboratory of Experimental Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-4255, USA.


We have previously shown that chronic activation of mitogenic signaling induced by over-expression of c-myc and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFalpha) transgenes in mouse liver induces a state of oxidative stress. We therefore proposed that increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation might be responsible for the extensive chromosomal damage and acceleration of hepatocarcinogenesis characteristic for TGFalpha/c-myc mice. In this study, we show that vitamin E (VE), a potent free radical scavenging antioxidant, is able to protect liver tissue against oxidative stress and suppress tumorigenic potential of c-myc oncogene. Dietary supplementation with VE, starting from weaning, decreased ROS generation coincident with a marked inhibition of hepatocyte proliferation while increasing the chromosomal as well as mtDNA stability in the liver. Similarly, dietary VE reduced liver dysplasia and increased viability of hepatocytes. At 6 mo of age, VE treatment decreased the incidence of adenomas by 65% and prevented malignant conversion. These results indicate that ROS generated by over-expression of c-myc and TGFalpha in the liver are the primary carcinogenic agents in this animal model. Furthermore, the data demonstrate that dietary supplementation of VE can effectively inhibit liver cancer development.

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