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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2013 May;6(5):384-6. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-13-0026. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Is lycopene an effective agent for preventing prostate cancer?

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Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, 7650 Remsen, Room 524A, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


The role of lycopene, an open-chain carotenoid found in tomatoes and devoid of retinoid activity, as an anticarcinogenic, chemopreventive agent, especially for use in prostate cancer, is still under active investigation. In this issue, Qui and colleagues show that lycopene induces responses in human prostate epithelial cells that are antiproliferative, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory, as well as downregulating targets in the androgen receptor signaling pathway. In this perspective, we review aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of lycopene that support its use for prevention of prostate cancer. Whether lycopene itself or its metabolites induce most of its benefits is still uncertain. At present, meta-analysis of clinical studies of lycopene for prevention of prostate cancer in men does not yet support the definitive clinical use of this carotenoid in a preventive setting.

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