Preclinical efficacy evaluation of potential chemopreventive agents in animal carcinogenesis models: methods and results from the NCI Chemoprevention Drug Development Program

J Cell Biochem Suppl. 1994;20:32-54. doi: 10.1002/jcb.240560905.


In the NCI, Chemoprevention Branch drug development program, potential chemopreventive agents are evaluated for efficacy against chemical carcinogen-induced tumors in animal models. This paper summarizes the results of 144 agents in 352 tests using various animal efficacy models. Of these results, 146 were positive, representing 85 different agents. The target organs selected for the animals model are representative of high-incidence human cancers. The assays include inhibition of tumors induced by MNU in hamster trachea, DEN in hamster lung, AOM in rat colon (including inhibition of AOM-induced aberrant crypts), MAM in mouse colon, DMBA and MNU in rat mammary glands, DMBA promoted by TPA in mouse skin, and OH-BBN in mouse bladder. The agents tested may be classified into various pharmacological and chemical structural categories that are relevant to their chemopreventive potential. These categories include antiestrogens, antiinflammatories (e.g., NSAIDs), antioxidants, arachidonic acid metabolism inhibitors, GST and GSH enhancers, ODC inhibitors, protein kinase C inhibitors, retinoids and carotenoids, organosulfur compounds, calcium compounds, vitamin D3 and analogs, and phenolic compounds (e.g., flavonoids). The various categories of compounds have different spectra of efficacy in animal models. In hamster lung, GSH-enhancing agents and antioxidants appear to have high potential for inhibiting carcinogenesis. In the colon, NSAIDs and other antiinflammatory agents appear particularly promising. Likewise, NSAIDs are very active in mouse bladder. In rat mammary glands, retinoids and antiestrogens (as would be expected) are efficacious. Several of the chemicals evaluated also appear to be promising chemopreventive agents based on their activity in several of the animal models. Particularly, the ODC inhibitor DFMO was active in the colon, mammary glands, and bladder models, while the dithiolthione, oltipraz, was efficacious in all the models listed above (i.e., lung, colon, mammary glands, skin, and bladder).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Cricetinae
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor / methods*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor / standards*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Mesocricetus
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred SENCAR
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Precancerous Conditions / chemically induced
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents