Author(s): Gladek A, Liehr JG
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Abstract Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a carcinogen in humans and rodents which has eluded mechanistic clarification of its carcinogenic action. In vitro and in vivo, binding of DES to DNA has been found previously, but covalent DNA adducts could not be identified. In this study, the nature of binding was investigated by 32P-postlabeling, a rapid and highly sensitive assay for covalent DNA damage, to distinguish between a genotoxic or epigenetic mechanism of carcinogenesis by DES. A unique and distinct DNA adduct pattern was observed in kidney, liver, uterus (or testes) of female (or male, respectively) Syrian hamsters treated with a single injection of DES (200 mg/kg body weight). This set of DNA adducts closely matched patterns generated in vitro by reaction of diethylstilbestrol-4',4''-quinone with DNA or 2'-deoxyguanosine 3'-monophosphate. The major and several minor DES-DNA adducts in vivo had identical chromatographic mobilities in 11 different solvent systems with corresponding adducts obtained in vitro. The major adduct spot, generated in vitro by reaction of diethylstilbestrol-4',4''-quinone and DNA, was chemically unstable (half-life at 37 degrees C: 4-5 days). The persistence in vivo of these DNA modifications was low (biological half-life: 14 h) presumably because of chemical instability in concert with DNA repair. After injection of identical dosages of DES, adduct concentrations were 4-6-fold higher in females than in males. These results demonstrate that DES is capable of covalently modifying DNA. Moreover, diethylstilbestrol-4',4"-quinone is the major reactive metabolic intermediate responsible for the genotoxic activity of DES. Tumors are expected to arise only in rapidly dividing cells due to the short biological lifetimes of DES-DNA adducts.
This article was published in J Biol Chem
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy