Chemopreventive effects of pomegranate seed oil on skin tumor development in CD1 mice

J Med Food. 2003 Fall;6(3):157-61. doi: 10.1089/10966200360716553.


Pomegranate seed oil was investigated for possible skin cancer chemopreventive efficacy in mice. In the main experiment, two groups consisting each of 30, 4-5-week-old, female CD(1) mice were used. Both groups had skin cancer initiated with an initial topical exposure of 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene and with biweekly promotion using 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA). The experimental group was pretreated with 5% pomegranate seed oil prior to each TPA application. Tumor incidence, the number of mice containing at least one tumor, was 100% and 93%, and multiplicity, the average number of tumors per mouse, was 20.8 and 16.3 per mouse after 20 weeks of promotion in the control and pomegranate seed oil-treated groups, respectively (P <.05). In a second experiment, two groups each consisting of three CD(1) mice were used to assess the effect of pomegranate seed oil on TPA-stimulated ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity, an important event in skin cancer promotion. Each group received a single topical application of TPA, with the experimental group receiving a topical treatment 1 h prior with 5% pomegranate seed oil. The mice were killed 5 h later, and ODC activity was assessed by radiometric method. The experimental group showed a 17% reduction in ODC activity. Pomegranate seed oil (5%) significantly decreased (P <.05) tumor incidence, multiplicity, and TPA-induced ODC activity. Overall, the results highlight the potential of pomegranate seed oil as a safe and effective chemopreventive agent against skin cancer.

MeSH terms

  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinogens
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Lythraceae / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Random Allocation
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / analogs & derivatives*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Carcinogens
  • Plant Oils
  • 9,10-Dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene
  • 4-O-methyl-12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate