Skin tumor promotion induced by 12-O-tetradecanoyl- phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) was inhibited by a concurrent and topical application of phthalic acid mono-n-butyl ester cupric salt (PAMBCu) in CD-1 mice initiated with 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene. PAMBCu inhibited TPA-caused epidermal ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) induction and ear edema formation, i.e. skin inflammation. However, neither PAMBCu nor superoxide dismutase (SOD) inhibited TPA-caused ODC induction in primary cultured mouse epidermal cells. 7-Bromomethylbenz[a] (BrMIBA) is known to be a non-TPA type of tumor promoting agent. Epidermal ODC induction and inflammation caused by BrMBA were not inhibited by a concurrent application of PAMBCu. When mice were topically treated twice with PAMBCu, i.e. concurrently with and 7 h after BrM1BA treatment, BrMBA-caused ODC induction was markedly suppressed. The same dose regimen of PAMBCu, however, failed to inhibit tumor promotion and inflammation caused by BrMIBA. PAMBCu showed SOD-mimetic activity in superoxide generating systems, i.e. xanthine-xanthine oxidase reaction and TPA-stimulated polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN). Mono-n-butyl phthalate, which lacks SOD-mimetic activity, failed to inhibit TPA-caused ODC induction and skin inflammation. Therefore, inhibition by PAMBCu of TPA caused tumor promotion, epidermal ODC induction and inflammation may be attributable to its SOD-mimetic activity. The results also support the contention that a superoxide anion of non-epidennal cell origin, such as PMN and macrophages, plays a role (probably some enhancing role) in in vivo ODC induction and tumor promotion caused by TPA. Failure of PAMBCu to inhibit BrMBA-caused tumor promotion suggests that superoxide anion generation is not involved in the tumor promoting action of this agent and that the anti-tumor promoting action of PAMBCu is dependent on the nature of the tumor promoting agents.
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