Here’s what the FDA found in their evaluation of the evidence linking tomatoes or tomato-based foods and lycopene, with reduced cancer risk.
No evidence that tomatoes reduces the risk of lung, colorectal, breast, cervical, or endometrial cancer.
Limited evidence for associations between tomato consumption and reduced risk of prostate, ovarian, gastric, and pancreatic cancers.
The bottom line?
The FDA will limit health claims for an association between tomatoes and prostate, ovarian, gastric, and pancreatic cancers.
In an upbeat editorial, Dr. Edward Giovannucci from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that “Given the complexities of studying the relationship between tomato or lycopene intake and prostate cancer risk,… one should not be too surprised that no firm conclusion of benefit would be made in the FDA review… Although it may be premature to espouse increased consumption of tomato sauce or lycopene for prostate cancer prevention, this area of research remains promising.”
A report on 2 studies that do not support the hypothesis that greater lycopene/tomato product consumption protects from prostate cancer can be found here.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.