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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 705121, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/705121
Review Article

Multiple Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Action of Lycopene in Cancer Inhibition

1Departamentos de Neuroinmunología, Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía (INNN), C.P. 14269, Mexico City, DF, Mexico
2Neurobiología Molecular y Celular INNN-UNAM, Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía (INNN), C.P. 14269, Mexico City, DF, Mexico
3Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), C.P. 04510, Mexico City, DF, Mexico
4Unidad Periferica de NeuroCiencias INNN-UNAM, Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía (INNN), C.P. 14269, Mexico City, DF, Mexico
5Facultad de Odontología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), C.P. 04510, Mexico City, DF, Mexico
6Neuroquimica, Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía (INNN), C.P. 14269, Mexico City, DF, Mexico

Received 25 March 2013; Revised 5 June 2013; Accepted 19 June 2013

Academic Editor: Yew-Min Tzeng

Copyright © 2013 Cristina Trejo-Solís et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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.