Inhibitory effects of asiatic acid on 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate-induced tumor promotion in mice

Byung Chul Park, Seung-Hwan Paek, Yoon-Seok Lee, Seung-Joo Kim, Eung-Seok Lee, Han Gon Choi, Chul Soon Yong, Jung-Ae Kim
Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2007, 30 (1): 176-9
Asiatic acid, a pentacyclic triterpene, has been reported to induce apoptosis of various human cancer cells. In the present study, we assessed the anti-tumor promoting effect of asiatic acid against 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA)-mediated skin tumorigenesis in 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-initiated ICR mice. Topical application of asiatic acid prior to each application of TPA resulted in a significant reduction in skin tumor formation. We also found that pre-application of asiatic acid alleviated TPA-induced [3H]thymidine incorporation, which is a conventional marker for skin tumor promotion. In addition, asiatic acid inhibited the TPA-induced generation of nitric oxide (NO) and expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which are known to play important roles in tumor growth, especially in the promotion stage. In addition, topical application of aminoguanidine (AG), a selective iNOS inhibitor, and N(G)-nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester (NAME), another iNOS inhibitor, 30 min prior to TPA treatment significantly inhibited the TPA-induced COX-2 expression. These results suggest that asiatic acid may exert anti-tumorigenesis through inhibitory actions in NO and COX-2 signals.

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