Cetirizine and thalidomide synergistically inhibit mammary tumorigenesis and angiogenesis in 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-treated rats

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Abstract

Objective

Cetirizine (CET) and thalidomide (THA) have been previously found to influence angiogenesis. The present study aimed to assess the ability of these drugs to influence mammary carcinogenesis in rats.

Materials and methods

Sixty Sprague-Dawley female rats, aged 8 weeks, received 15 mg of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) intragastrically. CET and THA (1.0 and 3.0 mg/kg, respectively) were administered orally for 118 days after DMBA administration. At the end of the treatment period, mammary tumors were counted and weighed, and their morphology was analyzed using light microscopy. In tumor tissue, proliferation and apoptotic indices and microvessel density were determined using immunohistochemical techniques; the levels of angiogenic factors, vascular endothelial growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor, were measured by western blotting.

Results

CET and THA, administered separately, failed to influence tumor formation and angiogenesis. In contrast, the drug combination decreased latency to first tumor (significant difference from vehicle-treated control and groups that received either drug alone, P<0.01) and significantly lowered tumor number per rat, number of malignant tumors per rat, tumor burden, and tumor number per tumor-bearing animal (P<0.05 or <0.01). In tissue of malignant tumors, the drug combination decreased the number of proliferating cells, microvessel density, and levels of vascular endothelial growth factor and basic fibroblast growth factor and stimulated apoptosis (difference from all other groups, P<0.01).

Conclusion

It was shown for the first time that H1-antagonist and THA synergistically inhibit DMBA-induced mammary carcinogenesis; this effect was associated with a decrease in tumor angiogenesis. Further study of the anticancer and antiangiogenic activity of the combination may provide a new approach to breast cancer treatment.

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