Effects of Medium-chain Triglycerides Administration in Chemically-induced Carcinogenesis in Mice

Anticancer Res. 2019 Dec;39(12):6653-6660. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.13880.


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) on chemically-induced hepatic carcinogenesis (HCC) in mice.

Materials and methods: In a first set of experiments, mice were treated with diethylnitrosoamine intraperitoneally at two weeks of age. They were fed chow containing MCT or a normal chow diet and sacrificed after 28 weeks. Incidence of hepatic tumor was compared between the two groups. Expression of oxidative stress, and inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in liver tissues were examined. In a second set of experiments, the histopathological findings of the intraperitoneal adipose tissue were assessed, and expression of adipocytokines in the fat tissue was measured. In a third set of experiments, plasma β-hydroxybutyrate (HB) concentration was measured in both animals fed chow containing MCT and a normal chow diet. Mouse HCC cells were co-cultured with β-HB, and the numbers of tumor cells were counted at days 3 and 7.

Results: In the first set of experiments, the tumor count observed in the control group was significantly blunted in the MCT group. Maximum tumor diameter also decreased in the MCT group compared to the control group. The expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines was significantly decreased by MCT. Furthermore, expression of 4-hydroxynonenal was lower in the MCT group compared to the control group. In the second set of experiments, hypertrophy of the adipocytes was suppressed, and the concentration of adiponectin and leptin in the adipose tissue decreased by MCT. In the third set of experiments, plasma β-HB concentration increased in the MCT group as expected. β-HB significantly inhibited the proliferation of HCC cells.

Conclusion: MCT administration markedly suppresses the incidence of chemically-induced HCC by inhibition of inflammation and increase of ketone bodies.

Keywords: Medium-chain triglycerides; adipocytokine; anti-inflammatory effect; antioxidant action; diethylnitrosamine; hepatocellular carcinoma; ketone body.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid / blood
  • Adipocytes / pathology
  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Aldehydes / metabolism
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Carcinogens
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / prevention & control*
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Hypertrophy
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology*


  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Adipoq protein, mouse
  • Aldehydes
  • Carcinogens
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Leptin
  • Triglycerides
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid