Background: Higher circulating insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations have been related to a greater risk of cancer. Lycopene intake is inversely associated with cancer risk, and experimental studies have shown that it may affect the IGF system, possibly through an effect on IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs).
Objective: The objective of our study was to investigate the effect of an 8-wk supplementation with tomato-derived lycopene (30 mg/d) on serum concentrations of total IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-2, and IGFBP-3.
Design: We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded crossover study in 40 men and 31 postmenopausal women with a family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of colorectal adenoma, or both.
Results: Lycopene supplementation significantly (P = 0.01) increased serum IGFBP-1 concentrations in women (median relative difference between serum IGFBP-1 concentrations after lycopene supplementation and after placebo, 21.7%). Serum IGFBP-2 concentrations were higher in both men and women after lycopene supplementation than after placebo, but to a lesser extent (mean relative difference 8.2%; 95% CI: 0.7%, 15.6% in men and 7.8%; 95% CI: -5.0%, 20.6% in women). Total IGF-I, IGF-II, and IGFBP-3 concentrations were not significantly altered by lycopene supplementation.
Conclusions: This is the first study known to show that lycopene supplementation may increase circulating IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 concentrations. Because of high interindividual variations in IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 effects, these results should be confirmed in larger randomized intervention studies.