Lycopene is a nutraceutical with health-promoting and anti-cancer activities, but due to a lack of evidence, there are no recommendations regarding its use and dosage. This review aimed to evaluate the benefits of lycopene supplementation in cancer prevention and treatment based on the results of in vivo studies. We identified 72 human and animal studies that were then analysed for endpoints such as cancer incidence, improvement in treatment outcomes, and the mechanisms of lycopene action. We concluded that the results of most of the reviewed in vivo studies confirmed the anti-cancer activities of lycopene. Most of the studies concerned prostate cancer, reflecting the number of in vitro studies. The reported mechanisms of lycopene action in vivo included regulation of oxidative and inflammatory processes, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of cell division, angiogenesis, and metastasis formation. The predominance of particular mechanisms seemed to depend on tumour organ localisation and the local storage capacity of lycopene. Finally, there is a need to look for predictive factors to identify a population that may benefit from lycopene supplementation. The potential candidates appear to be race, single nucleotide polymorphisms in carotene-cleaving enzymes, some genetic abbreviations, and insulin-like growth factor-dependent and inflammatory diseases.
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