Lycopene improves prostate cancer

A recent study highlights once again the anti-cancer benefits of eating tomato products that contain lycopene, a nutrient in the carotene family. Lycopene is also available in capsule form as a dietary supplement. Past studies showing lycopene decreases prostate cancer risk prompted researchers at Wayne State University in Michigan to conduct “a clinical trial to investigate the biological and clinical effects of lycopene supplementation in patients with localized prostate cancer.”

They gave 26 men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer either a supplement containing 30 mg of lycopene or no supplement for three weeks before a prostatectomy. They measured for markers of cell growth or death in both benign and cancerous prostate tissues, and assessed levels of oxidative (free radical) stress. They also assessed the men’s dietary intake of nutrients using a food frequency questionnaire. Prostatectomy specimens were evaluated for various indicators of disease severity.

The researchers found that after supplementation, those taking lycopene had smaller tumours and less cancer around the prostate compared to the control group. Prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, an indicator of cancer cells, were also lower in the lycopene group. The researchers say the results of their “pilot study [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][suggest] that lycopene may have beneficial effects in prostate cancer. Larger clinical trials are warranted to investigate the potential preventive and/or therapeutic role of lycopene in prostate cancer.”

Exp Biol Med, 2002;227(10):881-885)