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Prostate Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Opportunities for Prevention


The earliest studies of the association of lycopene and prostate cancer risk were generally negative before 1995 with only one study of 180 case-control patients showing a reduced risk.[26,27,28,29] In 1995, an analysis of the Physicians' Health Study found a one-third reduction in prostate cancer risk in the group of men with the highest consumption of tomato products when compared with the group with the lowest level of consumption, which was attributed to the lycopene content of these vegetables.[30] This large analysis prompted several subsequent studies, the results of which were mixed.[31,32] A review of the published data concluded that the evidence is weak that lycopene is associated with a reduced risk because previous studies were not controlled for total vegetable intake (i.e., separating the effect of tomatoes from vegetables), dietary intake instruments are poorly able to quantify lycopene intake, and other potential biases.[33] Specific dietary supplementation with lycopene remains to be demonstrated to reduce prostate cancer risk. In the largest prospective study to date, the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, lycopene was not associated with any reduction in risk of prostate cancer among 9,559 men studied. Similarly, there was no relationship between lycopene serum concentrations and risk of prostate cancer.[34,35]


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  33. Kristal AR, Cohen JH: Invited commentary: tomatoes, lycopene, and prostate cancer. How strong is the evidence? Am J Epidemiol 151 (2): 124-7; discussion 128-30, 2000.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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