Is Lycopene an Effective Agent for Preventing Prostate Cancer?

Michael B. Sporn and Karen T. Liby

LycopeneThe role of lycopene, an open-chain carotenoid found in tomatoes and devoid of retinoid activity, as an anticarcinogenic, chemopreventive agent, especially for use in prostate cancer, is still under active investigation. In this issue, Qui and colleagues show that lycopene induces responses in human prostate epithelial cells that are antiproliferative, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory, as well as downregulating targets in the androgen receptor signaling pathway. In this perspective, we review aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of lycopene that support its use for prevention of prostate cancer. Whether lycopene itself or its metabolites induce most of its benefits is still uncertain. At present, meta-analysis of clinical studies of lycopene for prevention of prostate cancer in men does not yet support the definitive clinical use of this carotenoid in a preventive setting. Cancer Prev Res; 6(5); 384–6. ©2013 AACR.