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February 1989

Antioxidants vs Carotenoids: Inhibitors or Promoters of Experimental Colorectal Cancers

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Dr Colacchio and Ms Hildebrandt) and Pathology (Dr Memoli), Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH.

Arch Surg. 1989;124(2):217-221. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1989.01410020091014

• The organospecific, 1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced murine tumor model was used to test the effects on tumor formation of the following dietary supplements: (1) ascorbic acid, 7% per weight; (2) alpha tocopherol, 1% per weight; (3) beta carotene, 1% per weight; and (4) canthazanthin, 1% per weight. Following a four-week dietary acclimation, a 16-week 1,2-dimethylhydrazine induction, and a four-week hiatus, the animals were killed, underwent autopsies, and tumor formation was recorded. The antioxidant supplements of ascorbic acid and alpha tocopherol resulted in a significant decrease in tumor formation when compared with control groups. In contrast, the beta carotene group showed no difference in tumor formation, and canthazanthin, a non-provitamin A carotenoid, resulted in an increase in tumor formation when compared with controls. In addition, the K-gel powder control diet (a carrier medium for alpha tocopherol acetate) had a significantly higher rate of tumor formation than the regular chow and placebo beadlet control diets. In sum, ascorbic acid and alpha tocopherol demonstrated a clear chemopreventive effect, whereas beta carotene had no effect, and canthazanthin appeared to function as a promoter in this organospecific tumor model.

(Arch Surg 1989;124:217-221)

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