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Allyl sulfur compounds from garlic modulate aberrant crypt formation.The health benefits of garlic, including inhibition of carcinogenesis, are supported by several epidemiologic and laboratory findings. Garlic's sulfur components have been reported to suppress experimentally induced tumor incidence in several organs, including the colon. Studies in humans also suggest that dietary garlic constituents reduce the risk of colorectal adenomatous polyps, which are considered precursors to colon cancer. Aberrant crypt foci (ACF) are proposed to be early preneoplastic lesions of adenoma-carcinoma in humans and chemically induced colon cancer in rodents. In preclinical studies, both water- and lipid-soluble allyl sulfur compounds arising from processed garlic inhibited ACF. The response to these allyl sulfur compounds appears to depend on several factors, including the speciation, quantity, and duration provided.
beta-carotene-induced changes in RARbeta isoform mRNA expression patterns do not influence lung adenoma multiplicity in the NNK-initiated A/J mouse model.A number of epidemiological studies have reported associations of beta-carotene plasma levels or intake with decreased lung cancer risk. However, intervention studies in smokers reported increased lung tumor rates after high long-term beta-carotene supplementation. For insight into these conflicting results, we studied the influence of beta-carotene on tobacco smoke carcinogen-induced lung cancer development in the A/J-mouse using 4-(N-Methyl-N-nitro samino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) as the initiator and lung adenoma multiplicity as the functional endpoint. Gene regulation of the putative tumor suppressor RARbeta in mouse lung was analyzed by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for its relevance in predicting the endpoint of lung cancer. A/J-mice achieved plasma beta-carotene levels of up to 3 micromol/L within 4 wk and up to 6 micromol/L after 6 mo of supplementation on a diet modified to enhance beta-carotene absorption. Despite high lung beta-carotene concentrations of up to 6 micromol/kg, tumor multiplicity was not significantly affected by the beta-carotene treatment, either in carcinogen-initiated or non-initiated mice, and was unrelated to beta-carotene dose and the time point of treatment during cancer formation. Tumor multiplicity did not correlate with beta-carotene plasma levels in NNK-treated animals. All RARbeta isoforms were significantly suppressed in the lungs of NNK- and NNK plus high dose beta-carotene-treated animals. However, the number of tumors per mouse did not correlate with the RARbeta-isoform expression levels. beta-carotene alone after 3 mo of supplementation mildly but significantly increased levels of RARbeta1, beta2, and beta4. This increase persisted for 6 mo for RARbeta2 and beta4. In summary, we found no effect of beta-carotene on tumor formation in the NNK-initiated A/J-mouse lung cancer model with respect to dose or time point of treatment. beta-Carotene-induced changes in RARbeta isoform gene expression levels were not predictive for the number of lung tumors but were indicative of intact beta-carotene metabolism and persistent sensitivity to retinoic acid in the mice. Down-regulation of RARbeta in NNK-induced adenoma-bearing lungs was similar to that observed in human lung cancer and further confirms the A/J-mouse as a valuable model for lung carcinogenesis.
Selenium, apoptosis, and colorectal adenomas.BACKGROUND: Selenium is an essential trace element found in cereals, wheat, dairy products, meat, and fish. This micronutrient may prevent carcinogenesis through several biochemical pathways; one suggested pathway is enhanced apoptosis. OBJECTIVES: The relation between selenium and colorectal adenomas was evaluated because the colorectal adenoma is the established precursor lesion of most colorectal cancers. Apoptosis was a pathway of interest because decreased apoptosis has been associated with an increased prevalence of adenomas. Our objectives were as follows: to investigate the association between (a) selenium and colorectal adenomas and (b) selenium and apoptosis. METHODS: The study population was assembled for the Diet and Health Study III (n = 803), a cross-sectional study conducted at the University of North Carolina Hospital (Chapel Hill, NC). There were 451 participants in the analysis of selenium and adenoma prevalence and 351 participants in the analysis of selenium and apoptosis. Selenium was measured from serum collected at the time of colonoscopy. Apoptosis was measured in biopsies from normal rectal epithelium obtained during the colonoscopy procedure. RESULTS: Participants in the highest fifth of serum selenium were less likely to have adenomas in comparison with those in the lowest fifth (prevalence ratio, 0.6; 95% confidence interval, 0.4-1.1). Selenium and apoptosis (>2.76 cells per crypt) were not strongly related, but results collectively suggested a roughly inverse association. CONCLUSIONS: High selenium was associated with a reduced prevalence of colorectal adenomas. Apoptosis, however, did not seem to be the mechanism by which selenium was related to adenoma prevalence in our data.