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Cancer Res Treat. 2019 Apr;51(2):632-648. doi: 10.4143/crt.2018.060. Epub 2018 Aug 1.

Effect of Estradiol in an Azoxymethane/Dextran Sulfate Sodium-Treated Mouse Model of Colorectal Cancer: Implication for Sex Difference in Colorectal Cancer Development.

Author information

Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine and Liver Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Tumor Microenvironment Global Core Research Center, Seoul National University College of Pharmacy, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Pathology, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.



This study demonstrates that estradiol downregulates inflammation and inhibits colorectal cancer (CRC) development in azoxymethane/dextran sulfate sodium (AOM/DSS) mouse model.

Materials and Methods:

AOM/DSS-treated male and female mice were sacrificed at weeks 2, 10, and 16, to assess estrogen effects on colitis and carcinogenesis. Macroscopic and histologic severity of colitis and Western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were evaluated, to measure inflammatory mediators and cytokines.


Compared with AOM/DSS-treated male mice (M-AOM/DSS group), AOM/DSS-treated male mice with estradiol administration (M-AOM/DSS+estr group) displayed at week 2 significantly decreased severity of colitis. At weeks 10 and 16, AOM/DSS-treated female mice (F-AOM/DSS group) and the M-AOM/DSS+estr group showed significantly lower tumor multiplicity compared with the M-AOM/DSS group. At week 2, F-AOM/DSS group had a lower level of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) expression and higher level of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) expression, compared to the M-AOM/DSS group. At week 2, expression levels of NF-κB and its related mediators decreased in the M-AOM/DSS+estr group, while levels of Nrf2 and Nrf2-related anti-oxidant enzymes increased. In addition, estradiol significantly increased Nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome expressions in AOM/DSS-treated male mice. In contrast, at weeks 10 and 16, Nrf2 and its-related anti-oxidant enzymes and NLRP3 inflammasome were highly expressed in M-AOM/DSS group and in F-AOM/DSS group, who developed cancer.


The data suggest that estradiol inhibits the initiation of CRC by regulating Nrf2-related pathways. Moreover, these imply the dual role of Nrf2 and NLRP3 inflammasome, including promotion of tumor progression upon tumor initiation.


AOM/DSS mouse model; Colorectal Neoplasms; Estradiol; Mouse; NF-E2-Related Factor 2; NF-kappa B; Nod-like receptor protein 3 inflammasome

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