Recently, we have shown that sustained ROS generation by prolonged porphyrin-mediated photosensitization in murine skin acts as a stage I and weak complete tumor promoter. Further to this, in the present study, we show that porphyrin photosensitization of DMBA-initiated murine skin results in the augmentation of TPA-mediated tumor promoting response. The photosensitization increased tumor yield to 15 tumors per mouse as compared to 7.5 tumors per mouse in the group treated with TPA alone. Further, 100% tumor incidence in the TPA-treated photosensitized group occurred at week 11 whereas it occurred at week 19 in the TPA alone treated group. Porphyrin photosensitization slightly decreased the latency period of TPA-mediated tumor formation by 1 week. The TPA-mediated ODC induction (1300% of saline-treated control) has been augmented in the photosensitized group (1950%). However, the amount of [3H]thymidine incorporation was not significantly different in the photosensitized TPA-treated and TPA alone-treated groups. Similarly, TPA treatment in photosensitized animals augmented the depletion of cutaneous glutathione and enhancement of lipid peroxidation. These changes were attenuated in butylated hydroxytoluene-pretreated animals. Our results suggest that cutaneous porphyrin photosensitization augments TPA-mediated tumor promotion in murine skin. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.