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Carcinogenesis. 2013 Apr;34(4):858-63. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgt002. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

Prolonged survival and delayed progression of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia in LSL-KrasG12D/+;Pdx-1-Cre mice by vitamin E δ-tocotrienol.

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Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


The highly lethal nature of pancreatic cancer and the increasing recognition of high-risk individuals have made research into chemoprevention a high priority. Here, we tested the chemopreventive activity of δ-tocotrienol, a bioactive vitamin E derivative extracted from palm fruit, in the LSL-Kras(G12D/+);Pdx-1-Cre pancreatic cancer mouse model. At 10 weeks of age, mice (n = 92) were randomly allocated to three groups: (i) no treatment; (ii) vehicle and (iii) δ-tocotrienol (200mg/kg × 2/day, PO). Treatment was continued for 12 months. Mice treated with δ-tocotrienol showed increased median survival from the onset of treatment (11.1 months) compared with vehicle-treated mice (9.7 months) and non-treated mice (8.5 months; P < 0.025). Importantly, none of the mice treated with δ-tocotrienol harbored invasive cancer compared with 10% and 8% in vehicle-treated and non-treated mice, respectively. Furthermore, δ-tocotrienol treatment also resulted in significant suppression of mouse pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasm (mPanIN) progression compared with vehicle-treated and non-treated mice: mPanIN-1: 47-50% (P < 0.09), mPanIN-2: 6-11% (P < 0.001), mPanIN-3: 3-15% (P < 0.001) and invasive cancer: 0-10% (P < 0.001). δ-Tocotrienol treatment inhibited mutant Kras-driven pathways such as MEK/ERK, PI3K/AKT and NF-kB/p65, as well as Bcl-xL and induced p27. δ-Tocotrienol also induced biomarkers of apoptosis such as Bax and activated caspase 3 along with an increase in plasma levels of CK18. In summary, δ-tocotrienol's ability to interfere with oncogenic Kras pathways coupled with the observed increase in median survival and significant delay in PanIN progression highlights the chemopreventative potential of δ-tocotrienol and warrants further investigation of this micronutrient in individuals at high risk for pancreatic cancer.

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