Chemoprevention of lung cancer by lycopene

Biofactors. 2000;13(1-4):95-102. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520130116.


An investigation was conducted to assess the chemopreventive potential of lycopene (LP), a naturally occurring hydrocarbon carotenoid found in tomatoes and their products, administered during the post-initiation stage in a multiorgan carcinogenesis model. One hundred eighteen B6C3F1 mice of both sexes were subjected to combined treatment with diethylnitrosamine (DEN), N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU) and 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) from day 11 after birth to week 9 (DMD treatment) (groups 1 and 2) or given their vehicles (group 3). Then group 1 received LP (25 or 50 ppm in drinking water) for 21 weeks from weeks 11 to 32. Group 2 served as a carcinogen alone control and group 3 was given only LP (25 or 50 ppm). The incidences and multiplicities of lung adenomas plus carcinomas combined in male mice in group 1 receiving LP 50 ppm were significantly decreased as compared to the DMD alone or DMD and LP 25 ppm group values (75.0 vs 18.8%, P < 0.02; 0.94+/-0.17 v.s 0.25+/-0.14, P < 0.001). While hepatocellular carcinomas were lacking in the DMD and LP groups, two cases were found in the DMD alone group (not statistically significant). The values for aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and tumors in the colon and kidney did not show any significant variation among the carcinogen-treated subgroups. The results of this study provide evidence that the tomato carotenoid, lycopene, may have potential as a chemopreventive agent against carcinogenesis in the male lung.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carcinogens
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Female
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control
  • Lung Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Methylnitrosourea
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Carcinogens
  • Carotenoids
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Methylnitrosourea
  • 1,2-Dimethylhydrazine
  • Lycopene