4-(Methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) is an important carcinogen found in tobacco and tobacco smoke. It is a potent lung tumorigen in rodents and appears to be involved in human cancer induced by tobacco products. NNK induces lung tumors in A/J mice after a single dose; tumor multiplicity is higher when the mice are maintained on an AIN-76A diet than when they are maintained on NIH-07 diet. This paper reviews our recent research using this single-dose model. Bioassays of deuterium substituted analogues of NNK have demonstrated that methylation of DNA by NNK is an important step in lung tumor induction. Arylalkyl isothiocyanates inhibit the metabolic activation of NNK and consequently inhibit its DNA binding and tumorigenesis. Structure activity studies have demonstrated that increasing alkyl chain length leads to increasing efficacy in prevention of NNK tumorigenesis. Thus, 3-phenylpropyl isothiocyanate and 4-phenylbutyl isothiocyanate blocked NNK induced lung tumor formation in A/J mice. Lower doses of longer chain arylalkyl isothiocyanates were even more effective as chemopreventive agents.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by National Cancer Institute grants no. 44377 and 46535.