Listed in Issue 275


HOLZAPFEL and COLLEAGUES, 1. a Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology , Brisbane , Australia; 2. b Human Nutrition, BASF SE , Lampertheim , Germany; 3. c Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre, Translational Research Institute , Brisbane , Australia; 4. d The George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology , Atlanta , Georgia , USA; 5. e Institute of Advanced Study, Technical University of Munich , Munich , Germany studied the impact of lycopene on viability, proliferation, migration, and invasion of five different cancer cell lines.


Lycopene, a compound that blocks the action of free radicals and oxygen molecules, is found in tomatoes and tomato-based products and linked to a reduced incidence of cancer. Increasing willingness of patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle by supplemental intake of nutrients and acceptance of alternative therapeutics has boosted research into nutraceuticals. The potential of lycopene to prevent or treat cancer has been investigated, but outcomes are inconsistent and its mode of action is still unknown.


Further studies are needed to understand the role of lycopene in cancer prevention and treatment. The impact of lycopene on viability, proliferation, migration, and invasion of five different cancer cell lines was determined using monolayer and spheroid cultures.


Cell viability was significantly reduced upon lycopene treatment at physiologically attainable concentrations. Cell proliferation, migration, and invasion did not change upon lycopene treatment. Ovarian cancer spheroids initially showed a decreased proliferation and after 14 days increased cell viability upon lycopene treatment, confirming the potential of lycopene to reduce cancer cell growth in short-term cultures and also indicate enhanced cell viability over prolonged exposure.


This study cannot substantiate that lycopene inhibits cell functions associated with tumor growth, even in a 3D cancer model that mimics the natural tumor microenvironment.


Holzapfel NP1, Holzapfel BM1, Theodoropoulos C1, Kaemmerer E1, Rausch T2, Feldthusen J2, Champ S2, Clements JA1,3, Hutmacher DW1,4,5, Loessner D1. Lycopene's Effects on Cancer Cell Functions within Monolayer and Spheroid Cultures. Nutr Cancer.;68(2):350-63. 2016. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2016.1150498. Epub Mar 25 2016.

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