Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Dec;62(6 Suppl):1327S-1336S.

Dietary carotenoids inhibit neoplastic transformation and modulate gene expression in mouse and human cells.

Author information

  • 1Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu 96813, USA.


Many epidemiologic studies have associated the consumption of diets rich in fruit and green and yellow vegetables with a decreased risk of cancer. Of the many components of such a diet, the content of carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, has been most consistently linked to decreased risk. The biological mechanism for such protection is currently unclear. Multiple possibilities exist: carotenoids are potent antioxidants and oxidative stress is known to contribute to carcinogenesis; many carotenoids can be converted to retinoids, these are known cancer preventive agents at several anatomic sites; and carotenoids may possess additional actions in mammalian cells. In a model in vitro system we showed that carotenoids both with and without provitamin A activity inhibit carcinogen-induced neoplastic transformation, inhibit plasma membrane lipid oxidation, and cause up-regulated expression of connexin 43, a gene coding for the structural unit of a gap junction. This last activity was statistically correlated with the ability to inhibit neoplastic transformation. Activity has also been shown in human cells: in fibroblasts CONNEXIN 43 expression is also up-regulated whereas in human keratinocytes grown in organotypic culture beta-carotene and canthaxanthin modulate differentiation in a manner qualitatively similar to that of retinoids. These results strongly suggest that carotenoids have intrinsic cancer chemopreventive action in humans.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk