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Ethanol Promotes Chemically Induced Oral Cancer in Mice through Activation of the 5-Lipoxygenase Pathway of Arachidonic Acid Metabolism

Wed, Oct 19, 2011

Oral Cancer News

Source: Cancer Prevention Research


Alcohol drinking is a known risk factor for oral cancer in humans. However, previous animal studies on the promoting effect of ethanol on oral carcinogenesis were inconclusive. It is necessary to develop an animal model with which the molecular mechanism of ethanol-related oral carcinogenesis may be elucidated to develop effective prevention strategies. In this study, mice were first treated with 4-nitroquinoline-1-oxide (4NQO, 100 μg/mL in drinking water) for 8 weeks and then given water or ethanol (8%) as the sole drink for another 16 weeks. During the experiment, 8% ethanol was well tolerated by mice. The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) increased from 20% (8/41) to 43% (17/40; P < 0.05). Expression of 5-lipoxygenase (5-Lox) and cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox-2) was increased in dysplasia and SCC of 4NQO-treated tongues and further enhanced by ethanol. Using this mouse model, we further showed that fewer cancers were induced in Alox5−/− mice, as were cell proliferation, inflammation, and angiogenesis in the tongue, as compared with Alox5+/+ mice. Interestingly, Cox-2 expression was induced by ethanol in knockout mice, whereas 5-Lox and leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H) expression and leukotriene B4 (LTB4) biosynthesis were dramatically reduced. Moreover, ethanol enhanced expression and nuclear localization of 5-Lox and stimulated LTB4 biosynthesis in human tongue SCC cells (SCC-15 and SCC-4) in vitro. In conclusion, this study clearly showed that ethanol promoted 4NQO-induced oral carcinogenesis, at least in part, through further activation of the 5-Lox pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism.

This news story was resourced by the Oral Cancer Foundation, and vetted for appropriateness and accuracy.

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