Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Molecular Carcinogenesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

John DiGiovanni

Committee Member

David Johnson

Committee Member

Dean Tang

Committee Member

Gary Johanning

Committee Member

Mark Bedford


The JAK-STAT pathway is a major signaling pathway involved in many biological processes including proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation. Aberrant expression of STATs has been reported in multiple human cancers and murine mouse models of tumorigenesis. Previous studies from our lab and others have established a critical role for Stat3 in epithelial tumorigenesis, but the role of Stat1 is largely unknown. The current study was designed to explore the role of Stat1 during multistage skin carcinogenesis. Topical treatment with both TPA and the anthrone derivative chrysarobin (CHRY) led to rapid phosphorylation of Stat1 on both tyrosine (Tyr701) and serine (Ser727) residues in epidermis. CHRY treatment also led to upregulation of unphosphorylated Stat1 (uStat1) at later time points. In addition, CHRY treatment also led to upregulation of IRF-1 mRNA and protein which was dependent on Stat1. Further analyses demonstrated that topical treatment with CHRY but not TPA upregulated interferon-gamma (IFNg) mRNA in the epidermis and that the induction of both IRF-1 and uStat1 was dependent on IFNg signaling. Stat1 deficient (Stat1-/-) mice were highly resistant to skin tumor promotion by CHRY. In contrast, the tumor response (in terms of both papillomas and squamous cell carcinomas) was similar in Stat1-/- mice and wild-type littermates with TPA as the promoter. Histological evaluation of the proliferative response confirmed the data obtained from the tumor study for both TPA and CHRY. In addition, maximal induction of both cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase in epidermis following treatment with CHRY was also dependent on the presence of functional Stat1. Following CHRY treatment, Stat1-/- mice exhibited reduced macrophage infiltration and reduced production of many immune cell derived chemokines/cytokines. These studies define a novel mechanism associated with skin tumor promotion by the anthrone class of tumor promoters involving upregulation of IFNg signaling in the epidermis and downstream signaling through activated (phosphorylated) Stat1 and subsequent upregulation of IRF-1 and uStat1.


Interferon-gamma, Stat1, inflammation, epithelial tumorigenesis