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Oncol Lett. 2018 May;15(5):6727-6732. doi: 10.3892/ol.2018.8175. Epub 2018 Mar 5.

Suppressive effects of lycopene and β-carotene on the viability of the human esophageal squamous carcinoma cell line EC109.

Ngoc NB1,2, Lv P1,3, Zhao WE1.

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School of Chemical Engineering and Energy, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, Henan 450001, P.R. China.
Faculty of Food Industry, College of Food Industry, Danang 550000, Vietnam.
School of Pharmacy, Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zhengzhou, Henan 450046, P.R. China.


The molecular mechanisms underlying the chemopreventive effects of carotenoids in different types of cancer are receiving increasing attention. In the present study, the role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) in the effect of lycopene and β-carotene on the viability of EC109 human esophageal squamous carcinoma cells was investigated. The viability of EC109 cells was evaluated using MTT assays. The effects of lycopene and β-carotene on the expression of PPARγ, p21WAF1/CIP1, cyclin D1 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) were analyzed by western blotting. Lycopene and β-carotene (5-40 µM) dose- and time-dependently reduced the viability of the EC109 cells. GW9662, an irreversible PPARγ antagonist, partly attenuated the decrease in EC109 cell viability induced by these carotenoids. Lycopene and β-carotene treatments upregulated the expression of PPARγ and p21WAF1/CIP1, and downregulated the expression of cyclin D1 and COX-2. These modulatory effects of the carotenoid treatments were suppressed by GW9662, suggesting that the inhibition of EC109 cell viability by lycopene and β-carotene involves PPARγ signaling pathways and the modulation of p21WAF1/CIP1, cyclin D1 and COX-2 expression.


esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; lycopene; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ; β-carotene

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