Patterns of DNA adduct formation in liver and mammary epithelial cells of rats treated with 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene, and selective effects of chemopreventive agents

Alberto Izzotti, Anna Camoirano, Cristina Cartiglia, Clinton J. Grubbs, Ronald A. Lubet, Gary J. Kelloff, Silvio De Flora

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7,12-Dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) is a prototype carcinogen that induces a high yield of mammary tumors in rats after a single feeding. We investigated the induction and chemoprevention of DNA adducts in female Sprague Dawley rats receiving DMBA by gavage according to a variety of treatment schedules. The patterns of 32P-postlabeled DNA adducts in liver and mammary epithelial cells were similar to those produced by the in vitro reaction of metabolically activated DMBA with calf thymus DNA. There was a high and statistically significant correlation between dose of DMBA administered to rats (0, 0.6, 2.4, and 12 mg/kg body weight) and levels of DNA adducts in both types of cells. The regression lines relating DMBA doses to total DNA adduct levels were significantly divergent and crossed at 1.5 mg/kg body weight, indicating that, at lower doses, the formation of DNA adducts is more intense in target mammary cells, whereas at higher doses, DNA adduct levels are more elevated in liver cells, presumably due to the greater metabolic capacity of this organ. When the rats were sacrificed 7 days rather than 2 days after DMBA administration, DNA adduct levels were approximately halved in both liver and mammary cells. The observed patterns can be interpreted based on toxicokinetic factors, local and distant metabolism, removal of DNA adducts by excision repair, and cell proliferation rate. Of three chemopreventive agents given with the diet to rats treated with 12 mg of DMBA, 5,6-benzoflavone (1650 ppm) was the most effective, inhibiting DNA adduct formation in liver and mammary cells by 96.5 and 83.5%, respectively. Feeding of 1,2-dithiole-3-thione (600 ppm) inhibited this biomarker by 68.5 and 50.2%, whereas butyl hydroxyanisole (BHA; 5000 ppm) showed a significant inhibition in the liver (46.5%) but was ineffective in mammary cells (29.0%, not significant). These data correlate nicely with the results of a parallel study in which 5,6-benzoflavone, 1,2-dithiole-3-thione, and BHA inhibited formation of hemoglobin adducts by 80.0, 44.0, and 0%, respectively; the incidence of mammary tumors by 82.4, 47.1, and 5.9%, respectively; and their multiplicity by 92.6, 80.0, and 7.4%, respectively. Therefore, biomarkers of biologically effective dose are highly predictive of the efficacy of chemopreventive agents in the DMBA rat mammary model. The selective inhibition by BHA of DNA adducts in the liver but not in mammary cells is consistent with the finding that this phenolic antioxidant stimulated phase II activities in the liver but not in the mammary gland (L. L. Song et al., manuscript in preparation). In any case, the broad-spectrum inducer 5,6-BF appears to be more effective than the two monofunctional phase II inducers, presumably because an enhanced activation of DMBA to reactive metabolites is coordinated with their blocking, detoxification, and excretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4285-4290
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Research
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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