A Carotenoid Extract from a Southern Italian Cultivar of Pumpkin Triggers Nonprotective Autophagy in Malignant Cells.
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017 ;2017:7468538. Epub 2017 Dec 21. PMID: 29430284
Carotenoids, including-carotene, lycopene, and derivatives, such as retinoic acid, have been studied for their significant antiproliferative and differentiating activity on cancer cells in experimental models and in clinics. We are presenting here data on the mechanism of action of a carotenoid-enriched extract obtained from the pumpkin, variety"long of Naples,"on two malignant human cell lines, Caco-2 and SAOs, derived from a colon adenocarcinoma and an osteosarcoma, respectively. The carotenoid extract has been obtained from pumpkin pulp and seeds by supercritical COextraction and employed to prepare oil-in-water nanoemulsions. The nanoemulsions, applied at a final carotenoid concentration of 200-400 g/ml, were not cytotoxic, but induced a delay in cell growth of about 40% in both SAOs and Caco-2 cell lines. This effect was associated with the activation of a"nonprotective"form of autophagy and, in SAOs cells, to the induction of cell differentiation via a mechanism that involved AMPK activation. Our data suggest the presence of a pool of bioactive compounds in the carotenoid-enriched extract, acting additively, or synergistically, to delay cell growth in cancer cells.