Prostate Cancer Risk May Be Lower With Lycopene, Tomato Intake

Vanessa Er PhD School of Social and Community Medicine University of Bristol and Bristol Nutrition Interview with:
Vanessa Er PhD
School of Social and Community Medicine
University of Bristol and Bristol Nutrition BRU

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Er: We found that men who had optimal intake of three nutrients- calcium, selenium and foods rich in lycopene– had a lower risk of prostate cancer.  Mainly, men who ate over 10 servings/week of tomatoes and tomato-based products had 18% reduction in risk of developing prostate cancer.  We also found that the risk of prostate cancer was lower in men who had high intake of fruits and vegetables.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Er: Our findings are interesting but they are not entirely unexpected.  There have been studies that found an association between tomatoes/lycopene and lower risk of prostate cancer and our study supports that.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Er:  Although we found a link between tomato and prostate cancer, we cannot be sure that it prevents prostate cancer.  There is no harm including tomatoes in your daily diet but men should still eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, stay active and maintain a healthy weight.  Also, they should obtain these nutrients from foods rather than supplements.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Er:  More studies are needed to confirm our findings especially through large scale human trials.


Adherence to dietary and lifestyle recommendations and prostate cancer risk in the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial

Vanessa Er, J. Athene Lane, Richard M. Martin, Pauline Emmett, Rebecca Gilbert, Kerry N.L. Avery, Eleanor Walsh, Jenny L. Donovan, David E. Neal,Freddie C. Hamdy, and Mona Jeffreys

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev cebp.0322.2014; Published OnlineFirst July 13, 2014; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0322

Last Updated on November 26, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD