• Open Access

Sex Hormone Dependency of Diethylnitrosamine-induced Liver Tumors in Mice and Chemoprevention by Leuprorelin



The prevalence of liver tumors throughout the world makes it imperative to seek chemopreventive agents. This tumor appears to be hormone-responsive and hormonal manipulations may therefore be beneficial. On this basis, both sexes of 12-day-old B6C3FJ mice were injected i.p. with diethylnitrosamine (DEN) at the dose of 2.5 μg/g body weight and observed for 32 weeks (males) or 36 weeks (females). In 100% of male mice, liver tumors were observed with an average diameter of 2.72 mm and multiplicity of 60.8. Orchidectomy at 6 weeks of age in these mice inhibited the incidence, multiplicity and size to 63%, 5.6 and 1.54 mm, respectively. By further implantation with an E2 pellet at monthly intervals, these parameters were reduced to 26%, 0.6 and 0.61 mm, respectively. Administration of a gonadotropin-blocking chemical, leuprorelin, to DEN-treated male mice significantly reduced the multiplicity and size of tumors to 18.3 and 2.54 mm (P<0.01 compared to those of DEN only). In female mice, the incidence of liver tumor was significantly smaller than that of males. However, ovariectomy and/or testosterone supplement significantly increased the occurrence of liver tumor. An anti-estrogen, toremifene, caused a marked further decrease of liver tumors. Mitotic indices with bromodeoxyuridine in tumor tissues paralleled the occurrence of liver tumors. Serum testosterone levels were significantly reduced by orchidectomy or by leuprorelin administration. These results further confirm that liver tumor is testosterone-responsive and hormonal manipulation by surgical orchidectomy or by chemical orchidectomy i.e. by leuprorelin, could substantially prevent the appearance of liver tumors.