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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:705121. doi: 10.1155/2013/705121. Epub 2013 Jul 21.

Multiple molecular and cellular mechanisms of action of lycopene in cancer inhibition.

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1
Departamentos de Neuroinmunología, Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía (INNN), C.P. 14269, Mexico City, DF, Mexico.

Abstract

Epidemiological studies suggest that including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in regular dietary intake might prevent and reverse cellular carcinogenesis, reducing the incidence of primary tumours. Bioactive components present in food can simultaneously modulate more than one carcinogenic process, including cancer metabolism, hormonal balance, transcriptional activity, cell-cycle control, apoptosis, inflammation, angiogenesis and metastasis. Some studies have shown an inverse correlation between a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and carotenoids and a low incidence of different types of cancer. Lycopene, the predominant carotenoid found in tomatoes, exhibits a high antioxidant capacity and has been shown to prevent cancer, as evidenced by clinical trials and studies in cell culture and animal models. In vitro studies have shown that lycopene treatment can selectively arrest cell growth and induce apoptosis in cancer cells without affecting normal cells. In vivo studies have revealed that lycopene treatment inhibits tumour growth in the liver, lung, prostate, breast, and colon. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene protects against prostate cancer. One of the main challenges in cancer prevention is the integration of new molecular findings into clinical practice. Thus, the identification of molecular biomarkers associated with lycopene levels is essential for improving our understanding of the mechanisms underlying its antineoplastic activity.

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