Effects of lycopene on the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in premenopausal breast cancer survivors and women at high familial breast cancer risk

Nutr Cancer. 2008;60(3):342-53. doi: 10.1080/01635580701861777.


Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is an important growth factor associated with increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer. We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover trial to evaluate whether tomato-derived lycopene supplementation (30 mg/day for 2 mo) decreases serum levels of total IGF-I in premenopausal women with 1) a history of breast cancer (n=24) or 2) a high familial breast cancer risk (n=36). Also, IGF binding protein (IGFBP) increasing effects were evaluated. Lycopene supplementation did not significantly alter serum total IGF-I and other IGF system components in the 2 study populations combined. However, statistically significant discordant results were observed between the 2 study populations (i.e., P<0.05 for total IGF-I, free IGF-I, and IGFBP-3). Total IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were increased in the breast cancer survivor population [total IGF-I=7.0%, 95% confidence interval (CI)= -0.2 to 14.3%; IGFBP-3=3.3%, 95% CI=0.7-6.0%), and free IGF-I was decreased in the family history population (-7.6%, 95% CI= -14.6 to -0.6%). This randomized controlled trial shows that 2 mo of lycopene supplementation has no effect on serum total IGF-I in the overall study population. However, lycopene effects were discordant between the 2 study populations showing beneficial effects in high-risk healthy women but not in breast cancer survivors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Lycopene
  • Middle Aged
  • Premenopause
  • Risk Factors
  • Somatomedins / metabolism


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Somatomedins
  • Carotenoids
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Lycopene