Marked Inhibition of Cellular Proliferation in the Normal Human Esophageal Epithelial Cells and Human Esophageal Squamous Cancer Cells in Culture by Carotenoids: Role for Prevention and Early Treatment of Esophageal Cancer

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Gastroenterology, Baltimore, USA.

2 Aventura hospital and Medical Center, Research Fellow at Sinai Hospital Baltimore, Baltimore, USA.

3 MBBS AIIMS Bhopal, Baltimore, USA.


Background: Globally Esophageal cancer is a common cancer arising from human esophageal mucosal tissue.
Epidemiological studies suggest inverse correlation between carotenoid intake and incident risk of this devastating
malignancy. Methods: In an effort to examine the modulatory role of carotenoids in human esophageal carcinogenesis
at a cellular level, we examined the effects of α-carotene and β-carotenes, on cell proliferation and DNA synthesis in
human esophageal epithelial (HEE) cells and human esophageal squamous cancer (HESC) cells in in-vitro cultures.
HEE and HESC cells were incubated with different concentrations of α- and β-carotenes both individually and in
combination. Results: Both Carotenes significantly inhibited (p<0.05) cellular proliferation and decreased DNA
synthesis in HEE and HESC cells. The effect of α- and β-carotene together on DNA synthesis in HEE and HESC cells
was significantly greater than either carotenoid alone, suggesting a synergistic effect. Greater magnitude of cellular
inhibition of DNA synthesis was observed on HEE cells than HESC cells. Conclusion: Our results suggest that a
combination of α-and β-carotene may provide a novel strategy for prevention and treatment of esophageal and upper
aero digestive tract cancer in humans.




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