BACKGROUND: Tomatoes contain carotenoids that have the potential to alter the effects of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).
OBJECTIVES: We hypothesized that dietary lyophilized tomato paste (TP) would reduce apoptosis within carotenoid-containing nonneoplastic tissues in EBRT-treated TRansgenic Adenocarcinoma of the Mouse Prostate (TRAMP) mice.
METHODS: Male TRAMP mice (n = 73) were provided an AIN-93G diet or a modified AIN-93G diet containing 10% TP (wt:wt) at 4 wk of age. Prostate tumor growth was monitored by ultrasound. The caudal half of the mouse was irradiated with 7.5 Gy (Rad) or 0 Gy (sham) at 24 wk of age or after the tumor volume exceeded 1000 mm3 with a Cobalt-60 source. Mice were euthanized 24 h postradiation. Carotenoids and α-tocopherol were measured by HPLC and compared by a t test. Tissues were assessed for radiation-induced changes (hematoxylin and eosin) and apoptosis [cleaved caspase-3 (CC3)] and compared by Kruskal-Wallis test or Freedman-Lane's permutation test.
RESULTS: Serum concentrations of lycopene (52% lower), phytoene (26% lower), and α-tocopherol (22% lower) were decreased in TP-fed irradiated mice (TP-Rad) compared with TP-fed sham mice (P < 0.05). CC3 scores increased within the prostate tumor with radiation treatments (P < 0.05), but were not affected by tomato consumption. In nonneoplastic tissues, TP-Rad had a lower percentage of CC3-positive cells within the cranial (67% lower) and caudal (75% lower) duodenum than irradiated mice on the control diet (Rad) (P < 0.005). Likewise, CC3 scores within the dorsolateral prostate of TP-Rad trended toward lower scores than for Rad (P = 0.07).
CONCLUSIONS: TP selectively reduces radiation-induced apoptosis in extratumoral tissues without decreasing radiation-induced apoptosis within the prostate tumor in TRAMP mice. Additional studies are needed to confirm and expand upon these findings.