The Administration of Beta Carotene to Prevent and Regress Oral Carcinoma in the Hamster Cheek Pouch and the Associated Enhancement of the Immune Response

  • Joel L. Schwartz
  • Gerald Shklar
  • Evelyn Flynn
  • Diane Trickler
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 262)


In the past four years this laboratory has utilized the hamster cheek pouch tumor model to investigate the anticancer activities of antioxidants, such as beta carotene. These molecules, which have exhibited no evidence of toxicity, have been administered systemically (oral ingestion), and locally to the tumor site in the hamster cheek pouch. The results have been either the inhibition of tumor growth, or the regression of tumor. Adjacent to the degenerating tumors a dense inflammatory infiltrate was observed. Specifically, the cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and beta, have been immunohistochemically localized to the site of regressed oral carcinoma. Recently, liposomes composed of phosphaditylcholine, phosphaditylserine, and phosphodityelanolamine were combined with beta carotene and injected locally to oral squamous cell carcinoma of the hamster. The results indicated that tumor cells accumulated the liposomes and were lysed while normal mucosal cells did not demonstrate this effect. Therefore antioxidants such as beta carotene can be localized to a tumor site, without a toxic response. Future studies on the anticancer activity of the antioxidants need to focus on the cellular and molecular changes produced in the immune effectors and in the mucosal cells following administration of the antioxidants.


Beta Carotene Benzoyl Peroxide Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Syrian Hamster Oral Carcinoma 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel L. Schwartz
    • 1
  • Gerald Shklar
    • 1
  • Evelyn Flynn
    • 1
  • Diane Trickler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral Pathology and Oral MedicineHarvard School of Dental MedicineBostonUSA

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