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Cancer Res. 2004 Sep 1;64(17):5925-8.

Deficiency of NRH:quinone oxidoreductase 2 increases susceptibility to 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene-induced skin carcinogenesis.

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Department of Pharmacology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


NRH:Quinone oxidoreductase 2 (NQO2) is an enzyme that catalyzes the reductive metabolism of quinones. C57BL/6 NQO2-/- mice lacking NQO2 gene expression were generated in our laboratory. The dorsal skin of NQO2-deficient mice was exposed to 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) or benzo(a)pyrene alone (complete carcinogen) or with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) (initiation/promotion model) to determine the in vivo role of NQO2 in chemical carcinogenesis. The NQO2-/- mice showed significantly increased tumor frequency with DMBA + TPA when compared with their wild-type littermates. The benzo(a)pyrene + TPA also showed increase in tumor incidence in NQO2-/- mice but to a less extent than DMBA. DMBA alone resulted in low frequency of tumor development with no difference in susceptibility between wild-type and NQO2-/- mice. Benzo(a)pyrene alone failed to induce tumors in either wild-type or NQO2-/- mice. Histologic analysis of the NQO2-/- mice tumors demonstrated proliferative activity. The treatment of NQO2-/- mice skin with benzo(a)pyrene failed to significantly increase tumor suppressor protein p53 and p53-regulated growth-related protein p21 and proapoptotic protein Bax as observed in case of wild-type mice. These results demonstrate that NQO2 protects against DMBA- and benzo(a)pyrene-induced skin carcinogenesis and suggest that NQO2 protection might be against tumor promotion. The results also suggest that lack of induction of p53, p21, and Bax proteins might contribute to increased sensitivity of NQO2-/- mice skin to benzo(a)pyrene carcinogenicity.

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