Chemoprevention of Colon Cancer by DFMO, Sulindac, and NO-Sulindac Administered Individually or in Combinations in F344 Rats

Venkateshwar Madka, Jagan M.R. Patlolla, Karthikkumar Venkatachalam, Yuting Zhang, Gopal Pathuri, Nicole Stratton, Stanley Lightfoot, Naveena B. Janakiram, Altaf Mohammed, Chinthalapally V. Rao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are promising colorectal cancer (CRC) chemopreventive drugs; however, to overcome NSAIDs’ associated side effects, there is a need to develop safer and efficacious approaches. The present study was designed to evaluate (i) the efficacy of nitric-oxide releasing (NO)-Sulindac as compared to Sulindac; (ii) whether NO-Sulindac is superior to Sulindac in enhancing low-dose difluoromethylornithine (DFMO)-induced chemopreventive efficacy, and (iii) assessing the key biomarkers associated with colon tumor inhibition by these combinations. In F344 rats, colonic tumors were induced by azoxymethane (AOM). At the adenoma stage (13 weeks post AOM), groups of rats were fed the experimental diets containing 0 ppm, 500 ppm DFMO, 150 ppm Sulindac, and 200 ppm NO-Sulindac, individually or in combinations, for 36 weeks. Colon tumors were evaluated histopathologically and assayed for expression levels of proliferative, apoptotic, and inflammatory markers. Results suggest that (except for NO-Sulindac alone), DFMO, Sulindac individually, and DFMO combined with Sulindac or NO-Sulindac significantly suppressed AOM-induced adenocarcinoma incidence and multiplicities. DFMO and Sulindac suppressed adenocarcinoma multiplicity by 63% (p < 0.0001) and 51% (p < 0.0011), respectively, whereas NO-Sulindac had a modest effect (22.8%, p = 0.09). Combinations of DFMO plus Sulindac or NO-Sulindac suppressed adenocarcinoma incidence (60%, p < 0.0001; 50% p < 0.0004), and multiplicity (81%, p < 0.0001; 62%, p < 0.0001). Rats that were fed the combination of DFMO plus Sulindac showed significant inhibition of tumor cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. In addition, enhancement of p21, Bax, and caspases; downregulation of Ki-67, VEGF, and β-catenin; and modulation of iNOS, COX-2, and ODC activities in colonic tumors were observed. These observations show that a lower-dose of DFMO and Sulindac significantly enhanced CRC chemopreventive efficacy when compared to NO-Sulindac alone, and the combination of DFMO and NO-Sulindac was modestly efficacious as compared to DFMO alone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4001
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • NSAIDs
  • chemoprevention
  • colorectal cancer
  • nitric oxide
  • polyamines


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