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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2001 Jul 4;93(13):990-8.

Effects of dietary N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide on N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine metabolism and esophageal tumorigenesis in the Fischer 344 rat.

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Division of Environmental Health Sciences, The Ohio State University School of Public Health and Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.



9-cis-Retinoic acid (9-cis-RA) and N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) are effective chemopreventive agents against epithelial tumors in the oral cavity, breast, and prostate. We tested the inhibitory activity of these retinoids against N-nitrosomethylbenzylamine (NMBA)-induced tumorigenesis in the rat esophagus.


Male Fischer 344 rats were randomly assigned to receive diets either lacking or containing 9-cis-RA or 4-HPR for 1 week before tumor initiation with NMBA and then for the duration of the study. NMBA metabolism, O(6)-methylguanine adduct formation, and cytochrome P450 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in the esophagi of the rats were studied to investigate the mechanisms by which dietary 4-HPR affects tumorigenesis. All statistical tests were two-sided.


Dietary 4-HPR resulted in a dose-dependent and statistically significant enhancement (P<.05) of tumorigenesis in response to NMBA. In two different tumor bioassays, the mean tumor multiplicity for rats fed the highest concentration of dietary 4-HPR (0.8 g/kg diet) was increased by 5.9 tumors (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.7 to 10.1 tumors) and 6.7 tumors (95% CI = 5.6 to 7.8 tumors) compared with the mean tumor multiplicity for rats that received the control diet lacking 4-HPR. Animals fed diets containing 9-cis-RA displayed no statistically significant increase in tumorigenesis. Compared with animals fed a diet lacking 4-HPR, animals fed 4-HPR had increased NMBA metabolism in esophageal explant cultures and had higher levels of O(6)-methylguanine DNA adducts and CYP2A3 mRNA in their esophagi.


Dietary 4-HPR enhances tumorigenesis in response to NMBA in the rat esophagus by increasing tumor initiation events. Dietary 4-HPR may exert paradoxical effects at some sites, such as the aerodigestive tract, by modulating the bioactivation of carcinogens in target tissues.

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