Enhanced cytotoxic and apoptosis inducing activity of lycopene oxidation products in different cancer cell lines

Food Chem Toxicol. 2016 Nov;97:265-276. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2016.09.016. Epub 2016 Sep 13.


Currently, upon understanding the metabolomics of carotenoids, it is important to address the key role of carotenoid derived products. In this regard, aim of the study was to elucidate and explore the role of lycopene (LYC) oxidative products generated through autoxidation (AOL) or chemical (KMnO4) oxidation (COL) against proliferation of selected cancer cells. Preliminary, we investigated the effect of LYC on cell viability of various cancer cell lines (PC-3, MCF-7, A431, HepG2, HeLa and A549). Based on the results of LYC treatment on cell cytotoxicity levels, MCF-7, PC-3 and HeLa cell lines were further tested with AOL and COL products. The decreased cell viability with depleted GSH and increased MDA levels were observed when treated with COL products than control, LYC and AOL. In addition, COL products increased ROS levels and percent apoptosis. The typical morphological changes and nuclear condensations showed that COL products have anti-proliferation and apoptosis inducing activity. Based on results, we hypothesized that ROS generation by LYC oxidation products may be one of intermediate step involved in apoptosis. The redox status and therapeutic approach of COL products in modulating ROS and induction of apoptosis in cancer cells were reported for the first time, to our knowledge. To conclude, COL products involves in cancer growth inhibition efficiently than intact LYC and AOL. Hence, there is a great potential for synthesizing or producing such carotenoid oxidation products to augment cancer complication.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Cytotoxicity; Free radicals; Lycopene oxidation products; Reactive oxygen species; UPLC-MS.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Carotenoids / chemistry*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Lycopene
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene