Roflumilast treatment inhibits lung carcinogenesis in benzo(a)pyrene-induced murine lung cancer model

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Roflumilast, a potent and selective inhibitor of phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4), has been used in treatment of COPD. PDE4 inhibitor is associated with inhibition of chronic airway inflammation, oxidative stress, and mesenchymal markers in B(a)P-induced lung tumors. The aim of this study was to assess whether roflumilast alone or added to inhaled budesonide might have dose-dependent inhibition on lung carcinogenesis induced by carcinogen B(a)P in mice. Female A/J mice were given a single dose of benzo(a)pyrene. Administration of roflumilast (1 mg/kg or 5 mg/kg) via oral gavage and aerosolized budesonide (2.25 mg/ml) began 2 weeks post-carcinogen treatment and continued for 26 weeks. Tumor load was determined by averaging the total tumor volume in each group. Benzo(a)pyrene induced an average tumor size of 9.38 ± 1.75 tumors per mouse, with an average tumor load of 19.53 ± 3.81 mm3. Roflumilast 5 mg/kg treatment decreased (P < 0.05) tumor load per mouse compared to the B(a)P group. Roflumilast 5 mg/kg treatment significantly increased the levels of cAMP in tumors with adjacent lung tissues (P < 0.05). The expression level of PDE4D gene was decreased by roflumilast 5 mg/kg treatment, significantly (P < 0.05). Compared to the B(a)P exposure group, expression levels of HIF-1α and VEGFA were attenuated by roflumilast 5 mg/kg treatment (P < 0.05). High-dose roflumilast can attenuate lung carcinogenesis in B(a)P-induced murine lung cancer model. The chemopreventive effect of roflumilast might be associated with inhibition of increased cAMP-mediated inflammatory process and markers of angiogenesis in tumor tissues.

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