Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) metabolites appear to promote tumor formation. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Free radical-derived quinone methide mediates skin tumor promotion by butylated hydroxytoluene hydroperoxide: expanded role for electrophiles in multistage carcinogenesis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Feb 1;88(3):946-50. PMID: 1846971
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21205.
Free radical derivatives of peroxides, hydroperoxides, and anthrones are thought to mediate tumor promotion by these compounds. Further, the promoting activity of phorbol esters is attributed, in part, to their ability to stimulate the cellular generation of oxygen radicals. A hydroperoxide metabolite of butylated hydroxytoluene, 2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-hydroperoxyl-4-methyl-2,5-cyclohexadienone (BHTOOH), has previously been shown to be a tumor promoter in mouse skin. BHTOOH is extensively metabolized by murine keratinocytes to several radical species. The primary radical generated from BHTOOH is a phenoxyl radical that can disproportionate to form butylated hydroxytoluene quinone methide, a reactive electrophile. Since electrophilic species have not been previously postulated to mediate tumor promotion, the present study was undertaken to examine the role of this electrophile in the promoting activity of BHTOOH. The biological activities of two chemical analogs of BHTOOH, 4-trideuteromethyl-BHTOOH and 4-tert-butyl-BHTOOH, were compared with that of the parent compound. 4-Trideuteromethyl-BHTOOH and 4-tert-butyl-BHTOOH have a reduced ability or inability, respectively, to form a quinone methide; however, like the parent compound, they both generate a phenoxyl radical when incubated with keratinocyte cytosol. The potency of BHTOOH, 4-trideuteromethyl-BHTOOH, and 4-tert-butyl-BHTOOH as inducers of ornithine decarboxylase, a marker of tumor promotion, was commensurate with their capacity for generating butylated hydroxytoluene quinone methide. These initial results were confirmed in a two-stage tumor promotion protocol in female SENCAR mice. Together, these data indicate that a quinone methide is mediating tumor promotion by BHTOOH, providing direct evidence that an electrophilic intermediate can elicit this stage of carcinogenesis.