Although the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on human lung carcinogenesis are suggested from the massive PCBs poisoning that occurred in Japan designated "Yusho," the detailed molecular mechanism are unknown. 1 nitropyrene (1-NP), an ubiquitous and abundant environmental pollutant, is known to be detected in lung tissues derived from patients with lung cancer in Japan, and its relation to lung carcinogenesis is also suggested. We investigated the effects of PCBs (Kanechlor-400) on l-NP-induced lung tumorigenesis in A/J mice. PCBs were administered intraperitoneally followed by ip injection of 1-NP. The lung lesions were examined 18 weeks after the final treatment. In the control group, no neoplastic lesions were induced in the lung. In the PCB group, preneoplastic lesions such as hyperplasia and adenoma were induced in 2/10 (20%) mice. In 1-NP group and in PCB + 1-NP group, lung lesions including adenocarcinoma were induced in 16/20 (80%) and 13/13 (100%) mice, respectively. Both the number and the size of tumors in PCB + 1-NP group were significantly greater than those in 1-NP group. K-ras gene mutation, CAA to CGA in codon 61 or GGT to GAT in codon 12, was found in either 1-NP group or PCB + 1-NP group but not in the PCB group. There was no difference in the pattern of K-ras mutation associated with the pretreatment with PCBs. These results suggest that PCBs promote 1-NP-induced lung tumorigenesis and may support, at least in part, the mechanism of the high incidence of lung cancer in patients with Yusho.
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