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Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol. 1988 May;24(5):839-50.

Tumor necrosis factor in experimental cancer regression with alphatocopherol, beta-carotene, canthaxanthin and algae extract.

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Department of Oral Medicine and Oral Pathology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA 02115.


Regression of established hamster buccal pouch carcinoma has recently been demonstrated in association with an induction of tumor necrosis factor alpha in macrophages. Regression of hamster buccal pouch tumors has also been demonstrated following the local injection of alphatocopherol, canthaxanthin and an extract of Spirulina-Dunaliella algae. The current study demonstrates that cancer regression is also accompanied by a significant induction of tumor necrosis factor in macrophages in the tumor area, suggesting a possible mechanism of tumor destruction. One hundred and forty young, male adult hamsters were divided into seven equal groups of 20 animals. Epidermoid carcinomas were induced in right buccal pouches by 14 weeks of painting, three times per week, of a 0.5% solution of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene. Groups 1 and 2 were untreated and sham injected controls. Groups 3-7 had injected twice weekly into the right buccal pouches 0.1 ml (1.9 mg/ml of 13-cis-retinoic acid, canthaxanthin, algae extract, beta-carotene and alphatocopherol. After 4 weeks the tumors in groups 3-7 demonstrated varying degrees of regression and the animals were sacrificed and the right buccal pouches excised. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) was demonstrated by immunohistochemical techniques. A very significant increase in TNF-alpha positive macrophages was found in the tumor-bearing pouches of animals in groups 5-7. Smaller numbers of TNF-alpha-positive macrophages were found in group 4 pouches and a very slight increase in group 3 pouches.

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