• Open Access

Nicotine-mediated suppression of the retinoic acid metabolizing enzyme CYP26A1 limits the oncogenic potential of breast cancer


To whom correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: osanaim@kochi-u.ac.jp


Tobacco smoke influences cancer development in tissues that are not directly exposed, and epidemiological studies have indicated that smoking women might experience decreased risk of breast cancer as a result of antiestrogenic effects. However, it remains to be clarified whether nicotine, one of the major addictive and best-investigated constituents of tobacco smoke, has any effect on breast cancer. Our recent work demonstrated that the retinoic acid metabolizing enzyme CYP26A1 enhances oncogenic and cell survival properties of breast carcinoma cells, implying a role as an oncogene. Here, we present evidence that nicotine significantly suppresses constitutive expression of CYP26A1, and that cells treated with nicotine exhibit enhanced sensitivity to apoptosis. In addition, nicotine may inhibit anchorage independent growth, cellular invasiveness and motility. These data show that nicotine can limit CYP26A1-mediated oncogenic characteristics, and suggest mechanisms by which nicotine might inhibit breast cancer development. (Cancer Sci 2011; 102: 1158–1163)