Epidemiologic studies suggest lycopene and tomato intake are inversely associated with human prostate cancer incidence. In the genetically driven murine prostate carcinogenesis model transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP), prostate cancer is inhibited by feeding of lycopene or tomatoes, and these effects are modulated by the β-carotene oxygenase 2 (Bco2) genotype.
We sought insight into this interaction through evaluation of prostate gene expression patterns during early TRAMP carcinogenesis.
Three-week-old TRAMP/+ or TRAMP/- × Bco2 or Bco2 mice were fed a control, lycopene beadlet, or 10% tomato powder-containing semipurified diet (providing 0, 384 and 462 mg lycopene/kg diet, respectively) for 5 wk. Gene expression patterns were evaluated by prostate cancer- and cholesterol and lipoprotein metabolism-focused arrays at age 8 wk.
The TRAMP genotype profoundly alters gene expression patterns, specifically inducing pathways associated with cell survival [z-score = 2.09, -log(P value) = 29.2, p53 signaling (z-score 1.13, -log(P value) = 13.5], and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) signaling [z-score = 0.302, -log(P value) = 12.1], while repressing phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) signaling [(z-score = -0.905, -log(P value) = 12.3], cholesterol synthesis [z-score = -1.941, -log(P-value) = 26.2], and LXR/RXR pathway activation [z-score = -1.941, -log(P value) = 23.1]. In comparison, lycopene- and tomato-feeding modestly modulate strong procarcinogenic TRAMP signaling. Lycopene decreased gene expression related to carcinogenesis [ Nkx3-1(NK3 homeobox 1)], tomato feeding increased expression of a gene involved in circadian regulation [Arntl (aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator like)], and tomato and/or lycopene increased expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism [Fasn (fatty acid synthase), Acaca(acetyl-CoA carboxylase alpha), Srebf1 (sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1), Hmgcr (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coA reductase), and Ptgs1 (prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 1)] (all P < 0.05). The impact of Bco2 genotype was limited to a subset of lycopene-impacted genes [Apc (adenomatous polyposis coli), Mto1 (mitochondrial TRNA translation optimization 1), Nfkb1 (nuclear factor kappa B subunit 1), andRbm39 (RNA binding motif protein 39)].
The TRAMP genotype strongly impacts procarcinogenic gene expression prior to emergence of histopathologic disease. Dietary tomato and lycopene modestly temper these processes, while Bco2 genotype has a limited impact at this early stage. These observed patterns provide insight into the complex interactions between a dietary variable, here tomatoes and lycopene, genes impacting nutrient metabolism, and their modulating influences on oncogene-driven prostate carcinogenesis. These findings provide further mechanistic support, consistent with cancer outcomes in rodents experiments and human epidemiologic studies.

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