Tomatoes to combat prostate cancer, new findings
Medical School has published a new epidemiological survey review
that confirms earlier studies suggesting that the consumption of
lycopene-rich foods can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 24 to
36 per cent.
Dr. Edward Giovannucci of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School has published a new epidemiological survey review that confirms earlier studies suggesting that the consumption of lycopene-rich foods can reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 24 to 36 per cent (1).
The work, The Health Professionals Follow-up Study, is an ongoing prospective cohort study of 51,529 US male health professionals, who were between the ages of 40-75 in 1986.
Interest in the effect of tomatoes in the diet on prostate cancer has increased ever since epidemiologic studies first revealed that men who ate more tomato-based foods had a lower risk for prostate cancer-the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American men. The cause of prostate cancer is not fully understood, however, it appears that an accumulation of damage caused by free radicals may play a role in its development, and antioxidants - the free radical neutralisers, are plentiful in tomato products.
Recent research from the University of Illinois National Foundation for Cancer Research confirms the benefits of a diet that includes tomato products rich in tomato lycopene. Men with prostate cancer who for 3 weeks consumed ¾ cup of tomato sauce daily had a statistically significant decrease in the amount of DNA damage in their white blood cells and prostate tissues. Additionally, as has been seen in earlier studies, study subjects consuming the tomato sauce also showed a marked reduction in their blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein used in the assessment of prostate cancer risk.
The prostates of the study subjects were examined after surgery. Researchers found that there was an accumulation of lycopene in the prostate tissues and a statistically significant 21.3 per cent decrease in oxidative DNA damage in leukocytes compared with pre-intervention levels. Their prostate DNA damage was 28.3 per cent lower than a control group's. PSA levels decreased 17.5 per cent after the intervention.
Further information about the study can be found on the lycopene website.
1. Giovannucci E, Rimm E, Liu Y, Stampfer M, Willet W, A prospective study of tomato products, lycopene and prostate cancer risk, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 94, No. 5, March 6, 2002.