Recent experiments suggest that lycopene may function as an anticancer agent (Rauscher et al., 1998, Tinkler et al., 1994). In vitro studies showed that lycopene inhibited the growth of human leukemic (Amir et al., 1999), endometrial, lung, and mammary cancer cells (Karas et al., 2000; Lowe et al., 1999). In some cases, lycopene is more effective than either alpha- or beta-carotene (Levy et al., 1995, Tinkler et al., 1994). Animal studies have shown that liver (Astorg et al., 1997; Matsushima-Nishiwaki et al., 1995); brain, colonic (Narisawa et al., 1996; Narisawa et al., 1998), and mammary (Sharoni et al., 1997) tumorigenesis could be inhibited by lycopene (Bertram et al., 1991; Clinton, 1998). Experiments in rats and mice typically show that lycopene concentrates or pure lycopene can delay cancer progression. Of course, not all results reported have been positive. A lesser number have shown little or no benefit from lycopene supplements (e.g. Cohen et al., 1999).
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