Chemoprevention of skin cancer by grape constituent resveratrol: relevance to human disease?

FASEB J. 2005 Jul;19(9):1193-5. doi: 10.1096/fj.04-3582fje. Epub 2005 Apr 18.


According to the World Cancer Report, skin cancer constitutes approximately 30% of all newly diagnosed cancers in the world, and solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation (particularly, its UVB component; 290-320 nm) is an established cause of approximately 90% of skin cancers. The available options have proven to be inadequate for the management of skin cancers. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop mechanism-based novel approaches for prevention/therapy of skin cancer. In this study, we evaluated the chemopreventive effects of resveratrol against UVB radiation-mediated skin tumorigenesis in the SKH-1 hairless mouse model. For our studies, we used a UVB initiation-promotion protocol in which the control mice were subjected to chronic UVB exposure (180 mJ/cm2, twice weekly, for 28 weeks). The experimental animals received either a pretreatment (30 min before each UVB) or post-treatment (5 min after UVB) of resveratrol (25 or 50 micro mole/0.2 ml acetone/mouse). The mice were followed for skin tumorigenesis and were killed at 24 h after the last UVB exposure, for further studies. The topical application of skin with resveratrol (both pre- and post- treatment) resulted in a highly significant 1) inhibition in tumor incidence, and 2) delay in the onset of tumorigenesis. Interestingly, the post-treatment of resveratrol was found to impart equal protection than the pretreatment; suggesting that resveratrol-mediated responses may not be sunscreen effects. Because Survivin is a critical regulator of survival/death of cells, and its overexpression has been implicated in several cancers, we evaluated its involvement in chemoprevention of UVB-mediated skin carcinogenesis by resveratrol. Our data demonstrated a significant 1) up-regulation of Survivin (both at protein- and mRNA- levels), 2) up-regulation of phospho-Survivin protein, and 3) down-regulation of proapoptotic Smac/DIABLO protein in skin tumors; whereas treatment with resveratrol resulted in the attenuation of these responses. Our study also suggests that resveratrol enhanced apoptosis in UVB-exposure-mediated skin tumors. Our study, for the first time, demonstrated that 1) resveratrol imparts strong chemopreventive effects against UVB exposure-mediated skin carcinogenesis (relevant to human skin cancers), and 2) the chemopreventive effects of resveratrol may, at least in part, be mediated via modulations in Survivin and other associated events. On the basis of our work, it is conceivable to design resveratrol-containing emollient or patch, as well as sunscreen and skin-care products for prevention of skin cancer and other conditions, which are believed to be caused by UV radiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Female
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / analysis
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Resveratrol
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*
  • Survivin
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Birc5 protein, mouse
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Stilbenes
  • Survivin
  • Resveratrol