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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Skin tumor promotion by phorbol esters is a two-stage process.

In the semisynthetic compound phorbol 12-retinoate 13-acetate ( PRA), the antipromoting principle of vitamin A acid is combined with the structure of a phorbol ester tumor promoter. In skin of NMRI mice, a single topical application of PRA induces skin inflammation, epidermal proliferation, and sustained hyperplasia to a similar extent and apparently along the same pathway as an equimolar dose of the strong tumor promoter phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). The mitogenic effects of both PRA and PMA are mediated by prostaglandin E synthesis. However, in mouse skin initiated with 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene, PRA does not promote tumor development, even at a high dose. Under continuous PRA treatment, however, one to four applications of PMA (insufficient by itself to promote tumor growth) gave a strong tumor response. Thus, it can be demonstrated that the effects necessary for tumor promotion can be brought about by a single application of PMA and that the subsequent chronic hyperproliferation of epidermis is probably necessary only to make the tumors visible. By using the nonpromoting irritant mitogen PRA, the concept of two-stage tumor promotion can thus be strongly supported. Furthermore, in the NMRI mouse, PRA is a much more potent second-stage promoter than mezerein, recently reported to be an incomplete promoter in the Sencar mouse.[1]


  1. Skin tumor promotion by phorbol esters is a two-stage process. Fürstenberger, G., Berry, D.L., Sorg, B., Marks, F. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1981) [Pubmed]
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