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J Med Food. 2003 Fall;6(3):157-61.

Chemopreventive effects of pomegranate seed oil on skin tumor development in CD1 mice.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, U.S.A.


Pomegranate seed oil was investigated for possible skin cancer chemopreventive efficacy in mice. In the main experiment, two groups consisting each of 30, 4-5-week-old, female CD(1) mice were used. Both groups had skin cancer initiated with an initial topical exposure of 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene and with biweekly promotion using 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA). The experimental group was pretreated with 5% pomegranate seed oil prior to each TPA application. Tumor incidence, the number of mice containing at least one tumor, was 100% and 93%, and multiplicity, the average number of tumors per mouse, was 20.8 and 16.3 per mouse after 20 weeks of promotion in the control and pomegranate seed oil-treated groups, respectively (P <.05). In a second experiment, two groups each consisting of three CD(1) mice were used to assess the effect of pomegranate seed oil on TPA-stimulated ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity, an important event in skin cancer promotion. Each group received a single topical application of TPA, with the experimental group receiving a topical treatment 1 h prior with 5% pomegranate seed oil. The mice were killed 5 h later, and ODC activity was assessed by radiometric method. The experimental group showed a 17% reduction in ODC activity. Pomegranate seed oil (5%) significantly decreased (P <.05) tumor incidence, multiplicity, and TPA-induced ODC activity. Overall, the results highlight the potential of pomegranate seed oil as a safe and effective chemopreventive agent against skin cancer.

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