Effect of excess dietary retinoic acid on skin papilloma and carcinoma formation induced by a complete carcinogenesis protocol in female Sencar mice

Li Chuan Chen, Susan Kirchhoff, Luigi M De Luca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previously, we have shown that dietary retinoic acid (RA) at pharmacological doses (30 μg/g of diet) inhibited the malignant conversion of skin papillomas to carcinomas induced by a two-stage carcinogenesis protocol with 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) as initiator and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) as promoter (De Luca et al., Carcinogenesis, 14 (1993) 539-542). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of dietary RA on skin papilloma and carcinoma formation induced by a complete carcinogenesis protocol with repeated DMBA treatment in female Sencar mice. Mice at 3 weeks of age were weaned onto a diet containing either 3 (control) or 30 (excess) μg of RA/g of diet and treated topically with DMBA (25.5 μg) once per week for 20 weeks. Mice fed excess dietary RA did not significantly differ from control mice in the following parameters: body weight, survival rate, papilloma incidence, cumulative carcinoma incidence (19.4% versus 23.7%), carcinoma yield (0.19 versus 0.26 per mouse), carcinoma conversion efficiency (5.2% versus 3.9%), and average age of carcinoma development (22.7 ± 4.7 versus 23.3 ± 2.8 weeks). However, papilloma yield was decreased by about 50% (i.e. 3.7 versus 7.0 at week 20, P <0.01) between weeks 17 and 22 of age by excess dietary RA treatment. Contrary to other routes of administration (i.e. topical and systemic) of RA (Verma et al., Cancer Res., 42 (1982) 3519-3525), excess dietary RA did not enhance skin tumor formation. In addition, excess dietary RA failed to inhibit malignant conversion of papillomas to carcinomas in the complete carcinogenesis protocol. Thus, the modulation of RA on skin papilloma and carcinoma formation is dependent on carcinogenesis protocol and route of RA administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-67
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 1994
Externally publishedYes



  • Complete carcinogenesis
  • Malignant conversion
  • Retinoic acid
  • Skin carcinogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology

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