Lycopene is a carotenoid, a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and
vegetables a red colour. Lycopene is found in various fruits like tomatoes,
watermelons, red oranges, pink grapefruits, apricots, and guavas. Out of all,
tomatoes have the highest amount of lycopene. The content of available lycopene
is higher in cooked tomatoes and is also increased by the addition of oil, such as
olive oil. Actual concentrations of carotenoids in the body vary significantly
depending on geographical regions, body mass index (BMI), gender, and
smoking status of individuals. The concentration of Lycopene in the liver and adipose
tissues. The concentration of lycopene in the liver and adipose tissues range from
1.28 µM/Kg to 25.46 µM/Kg and from 0.23 µM/Kg to 0.7 µM/Kg wet tissue,
respectively. In addition to the liver and adipose tissues, lycopene’s high
concentration of having been reported in testes, adrenal glands, and prostate
Lycopene acts as an antioxidant, which is the basis for its health-promoting
properties. Lycopene is used for cancer treatment, high blood pressure, liver
damage and high cholesterol. Lycopene protects human lymphoid cell
membranes from damage caused by radiotherapy involving gamma rays.
Lycopene is used to decrease the complications and risks associated with
several diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases (CVD), obesity, type 2
diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders. These chronic diseases are
associated with oxidative stress-induced systemic and low-grade chronic
inflammation. It is owing to its potent antioxidant properties, lycopene.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel has derived an acceptable
daily intake (ADI) of 0.5 mg/kg body weight/day. Lycopene was generally well
tolerated. Side effects were typically mild and tended to be gastrointestinal. A
possible interaction can be seen between lycopene and alcohol consumption
was found in studies.
Lycopene in Cancer
The significant effects of dietary lycopene intake in decreasing the risk of breast
cancer are observed.
lycopene has been shown to reduce intracellular levels of hydrogen peroxide in
breast cancer cells. Low doses of genistein (3 μM) or lycopene (2 μM) alter
DNA methylation, thereby changing gene expression in breast cancer and non-
cancer cell lines. The adequate lycopene levels were also associated with a
decrease in developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
At low, non-toxic doses, lycopene is simpler at DNA demethylation than
genistein. It was reported that an increase in total antioxidant levels was
correlated with a decreased risk concerning the development of breast cancer.
Inhibitory effects of lycopene on breast cancer cells caused by interference in
insulin-like growth factor receptor signalling and cycle progression have been
Several studies show that high intakes of tomato-based products were
associated with a 10–20% reduction in the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene
induces mitotic arrest in the phases of the cell cycle, with decreased levels of
cyclins D and E and cyclin-dependent kinases in human prostate cancer
Treatment of prostate cancer cells with lycopene decreases the expression of
AKT2 and increases the expression of microRNA-let-7f-1. It indicates that the
microRNA-let-7f-1 is involved in the anticancer effects of lycopene and also
serves a vital role in the inhibition in the progression of prostate cancer through
the downregulation of AKT2.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a glycoprotein enzyme present in small
quantities in the serum of healthy men but elevated in the presence of prostate
cancer or other possible disorders. The plasma carotenoids like lycopene and
tocopherols are linked to lower PSA levels. Studies confirm that PSA decreases
in patients taking a 30 mg dose of lycopene per day.
Higher intake of dietary lycopene has been associated with a lower risk of
lung cancer incidence in smokers and serum lycopene has been positively
associated with improved lung function in COPD patients
Higher consumption of dietary lycopene has been associated with lower risks
of COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and lung cancer in smokers.
Lycopene feeding also resulted in decreasing the neoplastic lung lesions. Results
showed that dietary lycopene at a high dose significantly inhibited induced
chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and preneoplastic lesions.
Lycopene seems to play a protective role in irradiated cells and may have
implications for skin cancer treatment.
Lycopene bioaccessibility increased more in the skin compared to the blood. It
is shown that individuals with a high lycopene concentration in the skin have a
a significantly smaller amount of wrinkles and furrows than individuals with a lower
Beneficial effects of lycopene are its photoprotective action against UV-
induced damage to human skin may also contribute to skin ageing The
mechanisms behind these phenomena are not entirely clear
Lycopene in CVDs
protective effects of lycopene in maintaining and improving cardiovascular
● inhibiting oxidative damage to LDL
● improving endothelial function
● inhibiting endothelial injury
● inhibiting cholesterol synthesis by decreasing the activity of 3-hydroxy-3-
methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (a rate-limiting enzyme for
cholesterol synthesis), inhibiting LDL oxidation, and restoring HDL
● increasing cholesterol efflux
● inhibiting proinflammatory activity driven by macrophages and T