Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Lycopene Inhibits Metastasis of Human Liver Adenocarcinoma SK-Hep-1 Cells by Downregulation of NADPH Oxidase 4 Protein Expression.

PMID 28723216


NADPH oxidase 4 (NOX4), with the sole function to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS), can be a molecular target for disrupting cancer metastasis. Several studies have indicated that lycopene exhibited anti-metastatic actions in vitro and in vivo. However, the role of NOX4 in the anti-metastatic action of lycopene remains unknown. Herein, we first confirmed the anti-metastatic effect of lycopene (0.1-5 μM) on human liver adenocarcinoma SK-Hep-1 cells. We showed that lycopene significantly inhibited NOX4 protein expression, with the strongest inhibition of 64.3 ± 10.2% (P < 0.05) at 2.5 μM lycopene. Lycopene also significantly inhibited NOX4 mRNA expression, NOX activity, and intracellular ROS levels in SK-Hep-1 cells. We then determined the effects of lycopene on transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-induced metastasis. We found that TGF-β (5 ng/mL) significantly increased migration, invasion, and adhesion activity, the intracellular ROS level, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) and MMP-2 activities, the level of NOX4 protein expression, and NOX activity. All these TGF-β-induced effects were antagonized by the incubation of SK-Hep-1 cells with lycopene (2.5 μM). Using transient transfection of siRNA against NOX4, we found that the downregulation of NOX4 could mimic lycopene by inhibiting cell migration and the activities of MMP-9 and MMP-2 during the incubation with or without TGF-β on SK-Hep-1 cells. The results demonstrate that the downregulation of NOX4 plays a crucial role in the anti-metastatic action of lycopene in SK-Hep-1 cells.

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Lycopene, ≥98% (HPLC), from tomato