The v-raf murine sarcoma viral homolog B1 (BRAF) inhibitor drug vemurafenib (PLX4032) is used to treat melanoma; however, epidemiological evidence reveals that it could cause cutaneous keratoacanthomas and squamous cell carcinoma in cancer patients with the most prevalent HRASQ61L
mutation. In a two-stage skin carcinogenesis mouse model, the skin papillomas induced by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)/12-O
-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) (DT) resemble the lesions in BRAF inhibitor-treated patients. In this study, we investigated the bioactivity of Mentha aquatica var. Kenting Water Mint
essential oil (KWM-EO) against PDV cells, mouse keratinocytes bearing HRASQ61L
mutation, and its effect on inhibiting papilloma formation in a two-stage skin carcinogenesis mouse model with or without PLX4032 co-treatment. Our results revealed that KWM-EO effectively attenuated cell viability, colony formation, and the invasive and migratory abilities of PDV cells. Induction of G2
/M cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in PDV cells was also observed. KWM-EO treatment significantly decreased the formation of cutaneous papilloma further induced by PLX4032 in DT mice (DTP). Immunohistochemistry analyses showed overexpression of keratin14 and COX-2 in DT and DTP skin were profoundly suppressed by KWM-EO treatment. This study demonstrates that KWM-EO has chemopreventive effects against PLX4032-induced cutaneous side-effects in a DMBA/TPA-induced two-stage carcinogenesis model and will be worth further exploration for possible application in melanoma patients.
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