Concomitant supplementation of lycopene and eicosapentaenoic acid inhibits the proliferation of human colon cancer cells

Feng Yao Tang, Hsin Ju Cho, Man Hui Pai, Ye Hsin Chen

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies indicated that people who live in the Mediterranean region have very low rates of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is well known that Mediterranean-style diet is rich in vegetables, tomato, fruit, fish and olive oil. These important dietary components may contribute to lower risk of cancer. Lycopene, a major component in tomato, exhibited potential anticarcinogenic activity. Previous studies showed that consumption of fish containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) correlated with reduced risk of cancer. However, the combined effects of lycopene and EPA on the proliferation of human colon cancer have not been studied well yet. Thus, we investigated the anticancer properties and therapeutic potential of lycopene and EPA in human colon cancer HT-29 cells. In this study, we determined the combined effects of lycopene and EPA on the proliferation of human colon cancer HT-29 cells. We demonstrated that low concentration of lycopene and EPA could synergistically inhibit the proliferation of colon cancer cells. The inhibitory mechanism was associated with suppression of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway. Furthermore, treatment of lycopene and EPA also synergistically blocked the activation of downstream mTOR molecule. Immunocytochemical staining results revealed that lycopene and EPA could also up-regulate the expression of apoptotic proteins such as Bax and Fas ligand to suppress cell survival. In conclusion, our novel findings suggest that lycopene and EPA synergistically inhibited the growth of human colon cancer HT-29 cells even at low concentration. The inhibitory effects of lycopene and EPA on cell proliferation of human colon cancer HT-29 cells were, in part, associated with the down-regulation of the PI-3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009



  • Akt
  • Colon cancer cells
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Lycopene
  • mTOR
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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