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Tomato Diet Can't Guarantee Prostate Health: Study
Date:9/14/2007

Lycopene, other nutrients no shield against prostate cancer, researchers say

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Men who've been adding vitamin E or the tomato nutrient lycopene to their diets to cut their risk of prostate cancer may need to think again.

According to a new study, neither carotenoids (such as lycopene), retinol, nor tocopherols (forms of vitamin E) appear to reduce the odds of prostate malignancy -- findings that are in line with two other recent publications.

"Our overall findings are null," said lead researcher Timothy Key, deputy director of the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, U.K.

"This large study does not support the hypothesis that consuming large amounts of these nutrients will reduce prostate cancer," he added. "That is disappointing, but that is the overall message."

The findings are published in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

His team examined the effect of the blood levels of 10 micronutrients on the risk of developing prostate cancer for almost 2,000 males from eight European countries.

The research, which the authors call "the largest prospective study to date of plasma carotenoids, retinol, tocopherols, and prostate cancer risk," was part of the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study, which includes more than half a million men and women.

The authors did find evidence to suggest that, once a cancer forms, high levels of lycopene (or of carotenoids in general, including lycopene) may reduce by about 60 percent the risk of the tumor progressing to an advanced-stage prostate cancer. Carotenoids appeared to have no effect on the rate of localized, earlier-stage disease, however.

According to Dr. Peter Scardino, head of the Prostate Cancer Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, prostate cancer is t
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