N-Nitroso-N-(3-keto-1,2-butanediol)-3'-nitrotyramine (NO-NTA) is a product of a model browning system generated in the presence of sodium nitrite. Our previous study showed that NO-NTA had genotoxicity and proved to be an initiator and promoter on mouse C3H10T1/2 cells. In this study, a two-stage skin carcinogenesis protocol was used to promote CD-1 mouse skin carcinogenesis using NO-NTA. Twice weekly, for 38 weeks, topical application of NO-NTA at the concentration of 250 nmol to mice previously initiated with benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) caused 90% tumor incidence. However, no tumors were observed in mice treated with BaP or treated with NO-NTA alone. The NO-NTA-promoted tumors that were observed histologically in mice showed well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma with invasion into the subcutaneous region. Application of the same amount of NO-NTA not only caused significant induction of hyperplasia but also epidermal ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity. Treatment of mouse skin (1 cm(2)) with various amounts of NO-NTA (10, 50, or 250 nmol) caused production of hydrogen peroxide by 1.63-, 1.91-, and 2. 38-fold, respectively, and marked induction of myeloperoxidase (MPO) by 21-, 39-, and 61-fold. These results indicate that NO-NTA is a new tumor promoter and may induce tumor promotion by oxidant stress in CD-1 mouse skin.