Dietary energy restriction (DER) has long been known to strikingly inhibit carcinogenesis in many animal models. The animal data has been corroborated by recent and ongoing epidemiological studies demonstrating the importance of energy balance, physical exercise and obesity in human cancer. Dr. Edward Bresnick provided key insights into this important area of research and pivotal direction for the author's research while he served as Director of the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer, Omaha, NE. These insights moved this research toward demonstrating that DER reduced the expression of key protein kinase C isoforms in mouse skin. More recent studies have uncovered downstream events that are inbibited by DER including blockage of tumor promoter activation of Raf-1, ERK 1,2 and AP-1 expression. Parallel studies have demonstrated the DER inhibition of these key cellular signaling events in mouse skin carcinogenesis are dependent upon an intact adrenal gland because adrenalectomized mice fed DER diet did not have reduced tumor burden or inhibited signaling and blocked AP-1 activation as was observed in DER mice with intact adrenal glands. In addition, the DER inhibition of tumorigenesis and AP-1 signaling was restored in adrenalectomized mice that were given corticosterone in the drinking water. This showed that in mice in the chemical carcinogenesis protocol glucocorticoid hormone plays a major role in mediating DER prevention of cancer. Studies are ongoing to further assess the mechanism of DER modulation of skin cancer by assessing impacts on transcriptional regulation and expression of genes that are critical in skin carcinogenesis. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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