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Cancer Res. 2006 Aug 15;66(16):8293-6.

Inhibition of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced skin tumorigenesis in C57BL/6 mice by sulforaphane is mediated by nuclear factor E2-related factor 2.

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Center for Cancer Prevention Research, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


Sulforaphane, a dietary isothiocyanate, possesses potent chemopreventive effects through the induction of cellular detoxifying/antioxidant enzymes via the transcription factor nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). To investigate carcinogenesis mechanisms related to the regulation of Nrf2, we examined the tumor incidence and tumor numbers per mouse in Nrf2 wild-type (+/+) and Nrf2 knockout (-/-) mice. 7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate treatments resulted in an increase in the incidence of skin tumors and tumor numbers per mouse in both genotypes; however, both indices were markedly higher in Nrf2(-/-) mice as compared with Nrf2(+/+) mice. Western blot analysis revealed that Nrf2 as well as heme oxygenase-1, a protein regulated by Nrf2 were not expressed in skin tumors from mice of either genotype, whereas expression of heme oxygenase-1 in Nrf2(+/+) mice was much higher than that in Nrf2(-/-) mice in nontumor skin samples. Next, we examined the chemopreventive efficacy of sulforaphane in mice with both genotypes. Topical application of 100 nmol of sulforaphane once a day for 14 days prior to 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate applications decreased the incidence of skin tumor in the Nrf2(+/+) mice when compared with the vehicle-treated group. Importantly, there was no chemoprotective effect elicited by sulforaphane pretreatment in the Nrf2(-/-) mice group. Taken together, our results show for the first time that Nrf2(-/-) mice are more susceptible to skin tumorigenesis and that the chemopreventive effects of sulforaphane are mediated, at least in part, through Nrf2.

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