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Cancer Res. 1996 Apr 15;56(8):1724-6.

Exceptional chemopreventive activity of low-dose dehydroepiandrosterone in the rat mammary gland.

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Life Sciences Department, IIT Research Institute, Chicago, ILlinois 60616, USA.


To determine if the chemopreventive activity of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the rat mammary gland can be dissociated from its toxicity, two studies were conducted in which low doses of DHEA were administered alone and in combination with other agents to rats treated with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea. Beginning 1 week prior to administration of 35 mg N-methyl-N-nitrosourea per kg body weight, groups of 20 female Sprague-Dawley rates were fed AIN-76A diet supplemented with DHEA alone (800 or 400 mg/kg diet), DHEA + tamoxifen (80 or 40 microgram/kg diet), DHEA + carbenoxolone (3500 or 1750 mg/kg diet), or DHEA + tamoxifen + carbenoxolone. When administered alone at either 800 or 400 mg/kg diet, DHEA reduced mammary cancer incidence from >70% in dietary controls to 0%; mammary cancer incidence from >70% in dietary controls to 0%; mammary cancer incidence in all DHEA combination regimens was also < or = 5%. The dose levels of DHEA used induced no toxicity or alteration in body weight gain. These results indicate that dietary supplementation with low doses of DHEA has chemopreventive efficacy greater than or equal to that of endocrine ablation. This protection may be mediated by the induction of differentiation in the mammary parenchyma.

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