There has been considerable interest in the use of botanical supplements to protect skin from the adverse effects of solar UV radiation, including photocarcinogenesis. We and others have shown that topical application of (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) from green tea prevents photocarcinogenesis in mice; however, the chemopreventive mechanism of EGCG in an in vivo tumor model is not clearly understood. In this study, UV-B-induced skin tumors with and without treatment of EGCG (≈1 mg/cm2) and age-matched skin biopsies from SKH-1 hairless mice were used to identify potential molecular targets of skin cancer prevention by EGCG. These biopsies were analyzed for various biomarkers of angiogenesis and antitumor immune response using immunostaining, Western blotting and gelatinolytic zymography. We report that compared to non-EGCG-treated tumors, topical application of EGCG in UV-induced tumors resulted in inhibition of protein expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9, which play crucial roles in tumor growth and metastasis. In contrast, tissue inhibitor of MMP-1 (TIMP-1), which inhibits MMP activity, was increased in tumors. With respect to the tumor vasculature, EGCG decreased the expression of CD31, a cell surface marker of vascular endothelial cells, and inhibited the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in tumors, which are essential for angiogenesis. EGCG inhibited proliferating cell nuclear antigen in UV-B-induced tumors as well. Additionally, higher numbers of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CD8 T cells) were detected in EGCG-treated tumors compared with non-EGCG-treated tumors. Together, these in vivo tumor data suggested that inhibition of photocarcinogenesis in mice by EGCG is associated with inhibition of angiogenic factors and induction of antitumor immune reactivity.
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Vol. 81 • No. 5