Healthy Food Tomatoes inhibit the Growth and Progression of Liver Cancer in Vivo

By Kyle J. Norton

Liver cancer is a chronic condition characterized by irregular cell growth in the liver tissues due to the alternation of cell DNA.

Most cases of primary liver cancer begin in the cells on the surface of the inner lining tissues of the liver.

Patients at the early stage of the liver cancer, due to the small size of the tumor, are asymptomatic. However, at the advanced, after colonizing the deeper layers of the liver, the malignant cells may travel a distance away to infect other nearby tissues, leading to secondary metastasis.

The liver is the largest internal organs with a function that filters out blood coming from the digestive tract before passing them to other parts of the body.

Furthermore, the liver also produces cholesterol that not only aid the gastrointestinal tract in digesting food and absorbing nutrient but also helps to build a strong cell wall, produce vitamin D and steroid hormones.

Also, at the advanced stage, patients with liver cancer may experience upper abdominal pain, abdominal swelling jaundice, and white, chalky stools accompanied by the general symptoms shared by other types of cancer.

According to the statistics provided by the American Cancer Society, in 2019, approximately 42,030 new cases (29,480 in men and 12,550 in women) will be diagnosed in the US.
Liver cancer will also cause the death about 31,780 Americans (21,600 men and 10,180 women) in 2019.

Although there are many risk factors associated with the onset of liver cancer, some researchers suggested that the rise of obesity-induced non-alcoholic liver disease may be a leading cause of liver cancer among Americans.
Dr. György Baffy wrote, “NAFLD is rapidly becoming the most common liver condition, it has been implicated in the worrisome trend of rising HCC incidence in a number of countries, which may offset successful measures in reducing the effect of virus-related liver cancer”.

And, “Independently or in synergy with cirrhosis, NAFLD may provide a special oncogenic microenvironment through its pathogenic association with chronic nutrient excess and adipose tissue remodeling, characterized by pro-inflammatory adipokine profiles, lipotoxicity, altered hepatocellular bioenergetics, and insulin resistance”.

In other words, you are obese with NAFLD, you are at an increased risk of liver cancer.

Tomato is red, edible fruit, genus Solanum, belonging to family Solanaceae, native to South America. Because of its health benefits, the tomato is grown worldwide for the commercial purpose
and often in the greenhouse.

With an aim to find a potential compound for the treatment of liver cancer, researchers examined the effect of lycopene from tomatoes against NAFLD and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

The study included tobacco carcinogen 4-(N-methyl-N-nitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK) induces lesions in both lungs and livers of ferrets with or without lycopene intervention.

More precisely, selected male ferrets (6 groups, n = 8-10) were treated either with NNK (50 mg/kg BW, i.p., once a month for four consecutive months) or saline with or without dietary lycopene supplementation (2.2 and 6.6 mg/kg BW/day, respectively) for 26 weeks. 
Before treatment of lycopene, NNK group showed a higher incidence of lung tumors, HCC, and steatohepatitis and elevations in bilirubin and AST levels.
Administration of lycopene supplementation at two doses not only prevented NNK-induced expressions of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the lung associated with liver injury and cells damage but also reduced the expression of a protein associated pro-inflammation, particularly, in the level of CYP2E1 involved in the metabolism of xenobiotics in the body in the liver
Furthermore, lycopene also attenuated the NNK-induced mortality and pathological lesions in the liver of ferrets.

Based on the results, researchers said, “The present study provided strong experimental evidence that the tobacco carcinogen NNK can induce both HCC and steatohepatitis in the ferrets and can be a useful model for studying tobacco carcinogen-associated NAFLD and liver cancer”.

Moreover, in the examined the natural whole foods which process anti-liver cancer potential, Dr. Zhou Y, the lead scientist wrote, “…, tomatoes,… These dietary natural products and their active components could affect the development and progression of liver cancer in various ways, such as inhibiting tumor cell growth and metastasis, protecting against liver carcinogens, immunomodulating and enhancing effects of chemotherapeutic drugs”.

Taken altogether, tomatoes processed abundantly bioactive compound lycopene may be considered supplements for the prevention and treatment of liver cancer, pending to the confirmation of the larger sample size and multicenter human study.

Intake of lycopene in the form of supplement should be taken with extreme care to prevent overdose acute liver toxicity.
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Author Biography
Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)

Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it’s news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada – Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.

(1) Dietary Natural Products for Prevention and Treatment of Liver Cancer by Zhou Y1, Li Y2, Zhou T3, Zheng J4, Li S5, Li HB. (PubMed)
(2) Tobacco carcinogen induces both lung cancer and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and hepatocellular carcinomas in ferrets which can be attenuated by lycopene supplementation by Aizawa K1,2, Liu C1, Tang S1, Veeramachaneni S1, Hu KQ1, Smith DE3, Wang XD. (PubMed)
(3) Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, and Prevention by György Baffy. (PMC)