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Food Chem Toxicol. 2007 Apr;45(4):563-7. Epub 2006 Oct 10.

Vitamin A and beta-carotene inhibitory effect during 1,2-dimethylhydrazine induced hepatocarcinogenesis potentiated by 5-azacytidine.

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Laboratory of Diet, Nutrition and Cancer, Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


5-Azacytidine is being used for reactivation of tumor suppressor genes. However, its administration during DNA repair pontentiates hepatocarcinogenesis. We observed chemopreventive activities by vitamin A and beta-carotene during early hepatocarcinogenesis. Thus, in the present study we evaluated vitamin A and beta-carotene chemopreventive potential during early hepatocarcinogenesis potentiated by 5-azacytidine. Wistar rats received vitamin A (VAA group), beta-carotene (betaCA group) or corn oil (CO and COA groups). After three weeks of treatment, all animals were initiated with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine. Twelve hours later VAA, betaCA and COA groups received a single dose of 5-Azc. Hepatocytes were selected/promoted by 2-acetylaminofluorene and 70% partial hepatectomy. All animals were sacrificed six weeks after initiation. Compared to CO group (without 5-azacytidine), COA group presented higher (p<0.05) nodule multiplicity, larger (p<0.05) gamma-GT positive lesions that occupied a larger (p<0.05) area of liver section. Compared to COA group, VAA group presented decreased (p<0.05) nodule multiplicity while betaCA group tended to present smaller gamma-GT positive lesions and to decrease occupied liver section. These results reinforce vitamin A and beta-carotene chemopreventive potential. Considering that 5-azacytidine potentiates hepatocarcinogenesis, more studies are needed to elucidate the efficacy and safety of this drug for cancer control.

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