Lycopene modulation of molecular targets affected by smoking exposure

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2012 Jul;12(6):640-57. doi: 10.2174/156800912801784866.


Increasing evidence indicates that tomato lycopene may be an ideal candidate in protecting from cancer risk related to smoking exposure. The carotenoid shows potent redox-properties by which it decreases the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by smoke and modulates redox-sensitive cell targets, including protein tyrosine phosphatases, protein kinases, MAPKs and transcription factors. Moreover, it counteracts the effects of smoke on carcinogen-bioactivating enzymes and on molecular pathways involved in cell proliferation, apoptosis and inflammation. Lycopene also inhibits smoke-stimulated IGF-signalling and smoke-induced DNA adducts. Some of these actions may be mediated by its oxidative metabolites and may be synergistically enhanced by the presence of other antioxidant nutrients. This review summarizes the background information about the interactions of lycopene with smoke in experimental models and presents the most current knowledge with respect to lycopene role in smoke-related diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • DNA Adducts / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Lycopene
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • DNA Adducts
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene