A comparison of the anticancer activities of dietary beta-carotene, canthaxanthin and astaxanthin in mice in vivo

Anticancer Res. May-Jun 1999;19(3A):1849-53.

Abstract

The anticancer activities of beta-carotene, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin against the growth of mammary tumors were studied in female eight-wk-old BALB/c mice. The mice were fed a synthetic diet containing 0, 0.1 or 0.4% beta-carotene, astaxanthin or canthaxanthin. After 3 weeks, all mice were inoculated with 1 x 10(6) WAZ-2T tumor cells into the mammary fat pad. All animals were killed on 45 d after inoculation with the tumor cells. No carotenoids were detectable in the plasma or tumor tissues of unsupplemented mice. Concentrations of plasma astaxanthin (20 to 28 mumol/L) were greater (P < 0.05) than that of beta-carotene (0.1 to 0.2 mumol/L) and canthaxanthin (3 to 6 mmol/L). However, in tumor tissues, the concentration of canthaxanthin (4.9 to 6.0 nmol/g) was higher than that of beta-carotene (0.2 to 0.5 nmol/g) and astaxanthin (1.2 to 2.7 nmol/g). In general, all three carotenoids decreased mammary tumor volume. Mammary tumor growth inhibition by astaxanthin was dose-dependent and was higher than that of canthaxanthin and beta-carotene. Mice fed 0.4% beta-carotene or canthaxanthin did not show further increases in tumor growth inhibition compared to those fed 0.1% of each carotenoid. Lipid peroxidation activity in tumors was lower (P < 0.05) in mice fed 0.4% astaxanthin, but not in those fed beta-carotene and canthaxanthin. Therefore, beta-carotene, canthaxanthin and especially astaxanthin inhibit the growth of mammary tumors in mice; their anti-tumor activity is also influenced by the supplemental dose.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / blood
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Canthaxanthin / administration & dosage
  • Canthaxanthin / blood
  • Canthaxanthin / pharmacokinetics
  • Canthaxanthin / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Diet
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Female
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / blood
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / analysis
  • Xanthophylls
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage
  • beta Carotene / analogs & derivatives*
  • beta Carotene / blood
  • beta Carotene / pharmacokinetics
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use*

Substances

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Xanthophylls
  • beta Carotene
  • Canthaxanthin
  • astaxanthine