Effects of a biomimetic superoxide dismutase on complete and multistage carcinogenesis in mouse skin

Patricia A. Egner, Thomas W. Kensler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The effects of a selective detoxifier of the proximate oxygen radical, superoxide anion, on the induction of tumors in the skin of CD-1 mice by either the initiation-promotion regimen or the complete carcinogenesis process were investigated. The principle agent of interest, copper (II) (3,5-diisopropylsalicylate)2 (CuDIPS), is a low molecular weight, lipophilic copper coordination complex that catalytically disproportionates superoxide anion at a rate comparable to native CuZn superoxide dismutase (SOD). The protocols used to elicit tumors were: (i) a single application of 0.2 μmol of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) followed by twice-weekly applications of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) in an initiation-promotion study, and (II) either a single application of 3.6 μmol DMBA followed by no further treatment or weekly applications of 0.2 μmol DMBA in complete carcinogenesis protocols. Application of 2 μmol CuDIPS 15 min prior to the initiating dose of DMBA was without significant effect on tumor yield or incidence, whereas application prior to each dose of TPA substantially reduced tumor incidence and yield. This anti-promoting property of CuDIPS can be attributed to its SOD-mimetic activity in as much as the corresponding zinc coordination complex lacking in SOD activity, zinc (II) (3,5-diisopropylsalicylate)2, was non-inhibitory. Significant reductions in tumor yield were also observed when CuDIPS was applied prior to DMBA in either of the complete carcinogenesis protocols. Additionally, covalent binding of [3H]DMBA to epidermal DNA was markedly reduced by CuDIPS pre-treatment, suggesting that the anti-carcinogenic properties may reflect a perturbation in superoxide anion-dependent metabolic activation of DMBA. The induction by DMBA of ornithine decarboxylase activity, a biochemical marker of tumor promoter activity, was not affected by CuDIPS; however, induction of ornithine decarboxylase by TPA was potently blocked. Collectively, these effects of a biomimetic SOD further implicate reactive oxygen species at multiple stages in chemical carcinogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1167-1172
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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