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Mutat Res. 2003 Dec 9;542(1-2):129-38.

Sunless skin tanning with dihydroxyacetone delays broad-spectrum ultraviolet photocarcinogenesis in hairless mice.

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Department of Dermatology D92, Bispebjerg Hospital, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, DK-2400, Copenhagen NV, Denmark.


Sunless tanning with dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is not considered to be a sunscreen although it does absorb parts of the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum. We investigated the protection with topical application of DHA against solar UV-induced skin carcinogenesis in lightly pigmented hairless hr/hr C3H/Tif mice. Broad-spectrum UV radiation, simulating the UV part of the solar spectrum was obtained from one Philips TL12 and five Bellarium-S SA-1-12 tubes. Three groups of mice were UV-exposed four times a week to a dose-equivalent of four times the standard erythema dose (SED), without or with application of 5 or 20% DHA only twice a week. Similarly, three groups of mice were treated with DHA and irradiated with a high UV dose (8 SED), simulating a skin burn. Two groups (controls) were not irradiated, but either left untreated or treated with 20% DHA alone. The UV-induced skin pigmentation by melanogenesis could easily be distinguished from DHA-induced browning and was measured by a non-invasive, semi-quantitative method. Application of 20% DHA reduced by 63% the pigmentation produced by 4 SED, however, only by 28% the pigmentation produced by 8 SED. Furthermore, topical application of 20% DHA significantly delayed the time to appearance of the first tumor >or=1mm (P=0.0012) and the time to appearance of the third tumor (P=2 x 10(-6)) in mice irradiated with 4 SED. However, 20% DHA did not delay tumor development in mice irradiated with 8 SED. Application of 5% DHA did not influence pigmentation or photocarcinogenesis. In conclusion, this is the first study to show that the superficial skin coloring generated by frequent topical application of DHA in high concentrations may delay skin cancer development in hairless mice irradiated with moderate UV doses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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