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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 May;11(5):265-278. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0349. Epub 2018 Feb 1.

Pharmacological TLR4 Antagonism Using Topical Resatorvid Blocks Solar UV-Induced Skin Tumorigenesis in SKH-1 Mice.

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The University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, Arizona.
Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
The National Center for Pharmaceutical Technology, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Department of Molecular Medicine and Biopharmaceutical Sciences, The Hormel Institute, The University of Minnesota, Austin, Minnesota.
Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia.
Department of Medicine, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
The University of Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, Arizona.
Department of Pharmacology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.


An urgent need exists for the development of more efficacious molecular strategies targeting nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC), the most common malignancy worldwide. Inflammatory signaling downstream of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) has been implicated in several forms of tumorigenesis, yet its role in solar UV-induced skin carcinogenesis remains undefined. We have previously shown in keratinocyte cell culture and SKH-1 mouse epidermis that topical application of the specific TLR4 antagonist resatorvid (TAK-242) blocks acute UV-induced AP-1 and NF-κB signaling, associated with downregulation of inflammatory mediators and MAP kinase phosphorylation. We therefore explored TLR4 as a novel target for chemoprevention of UV-induced NMSC. We selected the clinical TLR4 antagonist resatorvid based upon target specificity, potency, and physicochemical properties. Here, we confirm using ex vivo permeability assays that topical resatorvid can be effectively delivered to skin, and using in vivo studies that topical resatorvid can block UV-induced AP-1 activation in mouse epidermis. We also report that in a UV-induced skin tumorigenesis model, topical resatorvid displays potent photochemopreventive activity, significantly suppressing tumor area and multiplicity. Tumors harvested from resatorvid-treated mice display reduced activity of UV-associated signaling pathways and a corresponding increase in apoptosis compared with tumors from control animals. Further mechanistic insight on resatorvid-based photochemoprevention was obtained from unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis of protein readouts via reverse-phase protein microarray revealing a significant attenuation of key UV-induced proteomic changes by resatorvid in chronically treated high-risk SKH-1 skin prior to tumorigenesis. Taken together, our data identify TLR4 as a novel molecular target for topical photochemoprevention of NMSC. Cancer Prev Res; 11(5); 265-78. ©2018 AACRSee related editorial by Sfanos, p. 251.

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