Background: Observational and experimental studies have suggested that dietary supplementation with selenium can inhibit the development of colon cancer. However, many forms of selenium are toxic. Consequently, the development of efficacious compounds with low toxicity has been pursued. Purpose: Two synthetic organoselenium compounds, p-methoxy-benzyl selenocyanate (p-methoxy-BSC) and 1,4-phenylenebis(methylene)seleno-cyanate (p-XSC), were tested for their ability to inhibit colon carcinogenesis in rats that were treated with the carcinogen azoxymethane and fed low- or high- fat diets. Methods: Groups of 5-week-old male F344 rats (42 animals/group) were fed either a high-fat diet or a low-fat diet with or without added p- methoxy-BSC (10 or 20 parts per million [ppm]) or p-XSC (20 ppm). Two weeks later, 30 animals in each group received a subcutaneous injection of azoxymethane (15 mg/kg body weight); 1 week later, they received a second injection. The remaining 12 rats in each group received two injections of saline. Three days after the second injection of carcinogen or saline, animals being fed diets with p-methoxy-BSC or p-XSC were switched to corresponding organoselenium-free low- or high-fat diets for the remainder of the study to determine the effects of the selenium compounds on the initiation phase of colon carcinogenesis. At that time, groups of animals that had been maintained on organoselenium-free low- or high-fat diets were switched to diets containing p-methoxy-BSC or p-XSC until the end of the study to determine the effects of these compounds on the postinitiation phase of colon carcinogenesis. All animals were killed during the 38th week after azoxymethane or saline treatment, and histopathologic analysis of the colon tumors was performed. Colon tumor incidence and multiplicity were analyzed statistically. Results: No obvious toxic effects were observed following dietary administration of 10 or 20 ppm p-methoxy-BSC or 20 ppm p-XSC. Administration of 20 ppm p-methoxy-BSC in a high-fat diet during the initiation and postinitiation phases of colon carcinogenesis significantly (statistically) reduced colon tumor incidence; 10 ppm p-methoxy-BSC in a high-fat diet significantly reduced colon tumor incidence but only when it was given during the postinitiation phase. Colon tumor incidence was also significantly reduced when 20 ppm p-XSC was given in a high-fat diet during the initiation phase of colon carcinogenesis. When 20 ppm p-XSC was administered in either a high-fat diet or a low-fat diet during the postinitiation phase, both colon tumor incidence and multiplicity were significantly reduced; the greatest reductions were in animals fed a low-fat diet. Conclusions: In this model system, p-methoxy-BSC and p-XSC are effective agents for the chemoprevention of colon cancer. The effects of p- XSC were enhanced in animals fed a low-fat diet.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research