PURPOSEHypoxia and acidosis develop in in situ tumors as cellular expansion increases the diffusion distance of substrates and metabolites from blood vessels deep to the basement membrane. Prior studies of breast and cervical cancer revealed that cellular adaptation to microenvironmental hypoxia and acidosis is associated with the transition from in situ to invasive cancer. We hypothesized that decreased acidosis in intraductal tumors would alter environmental selection pressures for acid adapted phenotypes and delay or prevent evolution to invasive cancer.MATERIALS AND METHODSA total of 37 C57BL/6 TRAMP mice were randomized to a control group or to 1 of 4 treatment groups. In the latter groups 200 mM sodium bicarbonate were added to drinking water starting between ages 4 and 10 weeks.RESULTSIn all 18 controls prostate cancer developed that was visible on 3-dimensional ultrasound at a mean age of 13 weeks. They died within 52 weeks (median 37). When sodium bicarbonate therapy commenced before age 6 weeks in 10 mice, all reached senescence (age 76 weeks) without radiographic evidence of prostate cancer. Histological sections of the prostates in this cohort showed hyperplasia but no cancer in 70% of mice and minimal well differentiated cancer in the remainder. When therapy commenced after age 6 weeks in 9 mice, prostate cancer development was no different from that in controls.CONCLUSIONSImmunohistochemical staining for carbonic anhydrase 9 in regions of ductal hyperplasia showed increased expression in controls vs the early treatment group. Regional pH perturbation in in situ tumors may be a simple, inexpensive and effective cancer prevention strategy.