Modulatory influence of garlic and tomato on cyclooxygenase-2 activity, cell proliferation and apoptosis during azoxymethane induced colon carcinogenesis in rat

Cancer Lett. 2004 May 28;208(2):127-36. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2003.11.024.


Preventive intervention of colorectal cancer has become essential as a major portion of the population may develop the disease at some points during their lives. Diet and nutrition play an important role during this multistep colon carcinogenic process. Inhibitory activity of aqueous suspensions of garlic and tomato, individually and in combination, were tested on azoxymethane induced colon carcinogenesis in Sprague-Dawley rats. The effect was observed on aberrant crypt foci (ACF), the preneoplastic lesion. To investigate the mechanism of action of the agents used, cell proliferation and the level of apoptosis were determined and the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) protein was analyzed in the colon. Following treatment, significant inhibition of the level of cell proliferation (P<0.01 in garlic; P<0.001 in tomato and P<0.001 in combination treatment group with respect to the carcinogen control group), significant induction of apoptosis (P<0.01 in garlic treated; P<0.01 in tomato treated and P<0.001 in combination treatment group with respect to the carcinogen control group) and suppression of COX-2 expression among the treated groups resulted in significant reduction in the incidences of ACF (by 45.27% in garlic, 68.24% in tomato and 71.62% in combination treatment group). The preventive effect was better when the combination of garlic and tomato was administered in comparison to the individual treatment groups, suggesting the synergistic action of garlic and tomato.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Azoxymethane
  • Cell Division
  • Colonic Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Garlic*
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Male
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Isoenzymes
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Azoxymethane