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Cancer Biol Ther. 2012 Apr;13(6):358-68. doi: 10.4161/cbt.19241. Epub 2012 Apr 1.

Spermine synthase overexpression in vivo does not increase susceptibility to DMBA/TPA skin carcinogenesis or Min-Apc intestinal tumorigenesis.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA.


Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between elevated polyamine biosynthesis and neoplastic growth, but the specific contribution of spermine synthase to epithelial tumor development has never been explored in vivo. Mice with widespread overexpression of spermine synthase (CAG-SpmS) exhibit decreased spermidine levels, increased spermine and a significant rise in tissue spermine:spermidine ratio. We characterized the response of CAG-SpmS mice to two-stage skin chemical carcinogenesis as well as spontaneous intestinal carcinogenesis induced by loss of the Apc tumor suppressor in Apc (Min) (/+) (Min) mice. CAG-SpmS mice maintained the canonical increases in ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity, polyamine content and epidermal thickness in response to tumor promoter treatment of the skin. The induction of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (AdoMetDC) activity and its product decarboxylated AdoMet were impaired in CAG-SpmS mice, and the spermine:spermidine ratio was increased 3-fold in both untreated and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA)-treated skin. The susceptibility to 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)/TPA skin carcinogenesis was not altered in CAG-SpmS mice, and SpmS overexpression did not modify the previously described tumor resistance of mice with targeted antizyme expression or the enhanced tumor response in mice with targeted spermidine/spermine-N ( 1) -acetyltransferase expression. CAG-SpmS/Min mice also exhibited elevated spermine:spermidine ratios in the small intestine and colon, yet their tumor multiplicity and size was similar to Min mice. Therefore, studies in two of the most widely used tumorigenesis models demonstrate that increased spermine synthase activity and the resulting elevation of the spermine:spermidine ratio does not alter susceptibility to tumor development initiated by c-Ha-Ras mutation or Apc loss.

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