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Cancer Lett. 1991 Nov;60(2):153-7.

A study of betel quid carcinogenesis. IX. Comparative carcinogenicity of 3-(methylnitrosamino)propionitrile and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone upon local application to mouse skin and rat oral mucosa.

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  • 1American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York 10595.


The Areca-derived 3-(methylnitrosamino)propionitrile (MNPN) was tested for its tumor initiating activity on mouse skin and for its tumorigenic potential in the oral mucosa of rats. On mouse skin, like the otherwise strongly carcinogenic, tobacco-specific 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), MNPN showed only weak local tumor initiator activity. However, the application of MNPN to mouse skin led also to multiple distant tumors in the lungs of the animals. Twice daily swabbing of the oral cavity of rats with aqueous solutions of MNPN or NNK for up to 61 weeks led only to one oral tumor in each group of 30 animals. Yet, these N-nitrosamines proved again to be strong organ-specific carcinogens. Thus, MNPN induced nasal tumors in 80% of the rats and lung adenomas in 13%, liver tumors in 10% and papillomas of the esophagus in 7%. NNK induced lung adenoma and/or adenocarcinoma in 90%, nasal tumors in 43% and liver adenomas/adenocarcinomas in 30% of the rats. These results confirm previous observations that, independent of the site and mode of application, MNPN and NNK remain strong organ-specific carcinogens in laboratory animals.

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