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Carcinogenesis. 2002 Aug;23(8):1307-13.

Inhibition of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced oral carcinogenesis in hamsters by tea and curcumin.

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Laboratory for Cancer Research, College of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 164 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


Tea is one of the most popular beverages consumed in the world. Curcumin, the major yellow pigment in turmeric, is used widely as a spice and food-coloring agent. In this study, we studied the effects of tea and curcumin on 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced oral carcinogenesis in hamsters. DMBA solution (0.5% in mineral oil, 0.1 ml) was applied topically to the left cheek pouch of male Syrian golden hamsters 3 times/week for 6 weeks. Two days after the last treatment of DMBA, the animals received green tea (6 mg tea solids/ml) as drinking fluid, or 10 mmol curcumin applied topically 3 times/week, or the combination of green tea and curcumin treatment, or no treatment for 18 weeks. The combination of tea and curcumin significantly decreased the oral visible tumor incidence from 92.3% (24/26) to 69.2% (18/26) and the squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) incidence from 76.9% (20/26) to 42.3% (11/26). The combination of tea and curcumin also decreased the number of visible tumors and the tumor volume by 52.4 and 69.8%, as well as the numbers of SCC, dysplasic lesions and papillomas by 62.0, 37.5 and 48.7%, respectively. Green tea or curcumin treatment decreased the number of visible tumors by 35.1 or 39.6%, the tumor volume by 41.6 or 61.3% and the number of SCC by 53.3 or 51.3%, respectively. Green tea also decreased the number of dysplasic lesions. Curcumin also significantly decreased the SCC incidence. Tea and curcumin, singly or in combination, decreased the proliferation index in hyperplasia, dysplasia and papillomas. Only the combination treatment decreased the proliferation index in SCC. Tea alone and in combination with curcumin significantly increased the apoptotic index in dysplasia and SCC. Curcumin, alone and in combination with tea, significantly inhibited the angiogenesis in papilloma and SCC. The results suggested that green tea and curcumin had inhibitory effects against oral carcinogenesis at the post-initiation stage and such inhibition may be related to the suppression of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis and inhibition of angiogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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