Volume 37 (2012) Issue 2 Pages 317-327
Nano-sized titanium dioxide particles (TiO2) are widely used in cosmetics, sunscreens and food additives. We previously reported that topical application of non-coated rutile type TiO2 did not exhibit a promoting effect on ultraviolet B-initiated skin carcinogenesis in rats, and that this was likely due to lack of penetration of TiO2 into the epidermis. In the present study, we examined the promoting effect of silicone coated TiO2 (sTiO2) suspended in silicone oil and non-coated TiO2 (ncTiO2) suspended in Pentalan 408 on a two-stage skin chemical carcinogenesis model: sTiO2 suspended in silicon oil forms smaller particles than ncTiO2 suspended in Pentalan because of the smaller sizes of aggregates formed. The model used skin carcinogenesis-sensitive human c-Ha-ras proto-oncogene transgenic mice (rasH2) and rats (Hras128) and their wild-type counterparts and CD-1 mice to test the effects of topical application of TiO2. Animals were initially treated with a single dose of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) and then with 0, 10, or 20 mg sTiO2 (mice) or 0, 50, or 100 mg ncTiO2 (rats). The incidence and multiplicity of skin tumors (squamous cell papilloma and carcinoma) did not increase over DMBA alone controls in skin carcinogenesis-sensitive mice or rats or wild-type animals. Analysis of rat skin indicated that sTiO2 and ncTiO2 did not penetrate though either healthy or damaged skin. Furthermore sTiO2 did not penetrate an in vitro human epidermis model. Our results indicate that treatment with sTiO2 or ncTiO2 did not promote skin carcinogenesis in mice or rats, probably due to lack of penetration through the epidermis.