Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Lycopene attenuated hepatic tumorigenesis via differential mechanisms depending on carotenoid cleavage enzyme in mice.

PMID 25293877


Obesity is associated with increased liver cancer risks and mortality. We recently showed that apo-10'-lycopenoic acid, a lycopene metabolite generated by beta-carotene-9',10'-oxygenase (BCO2), inhibited carcinogen-initiated, high-fat diet (HFD)-promoted liver inflammation, and hepatic tumorigenesis development. The present investigation examined the outstanding question of whether lycopene could suppress HFD-promoted hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression, and if BCO2 expression is important using BCO2-knockout (BCO2-KO) and wild-type male mice. Results showed that lycopene supplementation (100 mg/kg diet) for 24 weeks resulted in comparable accumulation of hepatic lycopene (19.4 vs. 18.2 nmol/g) and had similar effects on suppressing HFD-promoted HCC incidence (19% vs. 20%) and multiplicity (58% vs. 62%) in wild-type and BCO2-KO mice, respectively. Intriguingly, lycopene chemopreventive effects in wild-type mice were associated with reduced hepatic proinflammatory signaling (phosphorylation of NK-κB p65 and STAT3; IL6 protein) and inflammatory foci. In contrast, the protective effects of lycopene in BCO2-KO but not in wild-type mice were associated with reduced hepatic endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated unfolded protein response (ER(UPR)), through decreasing ER(UPR)-mediated protein kinase RNA-activated like kinase-eukaryotic initiation factor 2α activation, and inositol requiring 1α-X-box-binding protein 1 signaling. Lycopene supplementation in BCO2-KO mice suppressed oncogenic signals, including Met mRNA, β-catenin protein, and mTOR complex 1 activation, which was associated with increased hepatic microRNA (miR)-199a/b and miR214 levels. These results provided novel experimental evidence that dietary lycopene can prevent HFD-promoted HCC incidence and multiplicity in mice, and may elicit different mechanisms depending on BCO2 expression.