Lycopene reduces risk of aggressive and lethal prostate cancer

Lycopene reduces risk of aggressive and lethal prostate cancer

Lycopene has consistentently been shown by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health to reduce the risk of prostate cancer; to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer; and to reduce the risk of lethal prostate cancer and it does this as a potent antioxidant and natural statin-alternative.

Lycopene is a bioactive compound found in tomatoes. It is a carotenoid and known antioxidant. However, it also possesses the ability to lower total cholesterol and particularly "bad" LDL fat levels in the body. It even seems to make good cholesterol levels rise a little. A 2013 meta-analysis from Tokyo concluded that tomato and lycopene consumption lowered prostate cancer risk (1)

Lycopene, fat and cholesterol

Lycopene's benefits are of increasing interest with prostate cancer, a cancer known to spread when helped by higher plasma levels of fat. (One study even suggested prostate cells could make their own fat!). Lycopene is also known to collect in the prostate (7). A 2015 meta-analysis showed that higher circulating lycopene levels were associated with lower prostate cancer levels (2).  

Research (3) is clear: a 25 mg supplement taken daily with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, can reduce your LDL levels by 10%. The researchers concluded that this correlation was 'dose dependent'. The more you consumed, the greater the benefit. Some experts in America think that lycopene is on a par with statins and considerably safer in prostate prevention and treatment

Lycopene reduces risk of lethal prostate cancer

One of the first studies on tomatoes and cancer came from Harvard School of Public Health who reported in 1995 on a seven year study with tomatoes and prostate cancer. 10 helpings a week (preferably lightly cooked to release the lycopene) was linked with a 45% reduction in prostate cancer risk. ’More is better’ said Dr Giovannucci who led the 9 year study following 47,000 men. Those who took 4-7 helpings had only a lower risk of 20%.

By 2002, the same team had extended the research to look at all tomatoes products including tomato sauce and pizza toppings, producing much the same result with an overall risk reduction of 35% in those who consumed the most. It seems processing tomatoes is as good as cooking in terms of releasing lycopene.

Experts now believe the debate arose because there are two types of prostate cancer. First, there is the very slow growing, or indolent, prostate cancer where lycopene has modest benefits. It is with the more aggressive forms of prostate cancer is shows its true colours.

Lycopene can block blood supply formation

A 2014 study (3), amongst 50,000 male health professionals, added a new dimension - The study concluded that "Dietary intake of lycopene was associated with reduced risk of lethal prostate cancer, and with a lowered degree of angiogenesis in the tumour (blood vessel growth)". It was also associated with lowered levels overall of prostate cancer, even indolent prostate cancer.

This was a very important finding as angiogenesis and new blood vessels drive cancer in the prostate. an, indeed, many cancers.

Lycopene restricts cancer growth pathways

As early s 2011, Lycopene was shown to block the pathways WNT-beta-catenin, Hedgehog, and Notch, that all drive cancer stem cell regrowth (8).

Lycopene can also exert antitumor effects through changes in the mevalonate pathway and in Ras activation (5). It prevents and even reverses oxidative damage. Lycopene reduced the Ras-dependent activation of NF-κB, which in turn  inhibited reactive oxygen species production and decreased phosphorylation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and p38. These effects were also accompanied by an arrest of cell cycle progression and by apoptosis induction and  increased in p21, p27 and p53 levels.

What does all this mean? It is acting as a powerful antioxidant and returning cancer cells to normal cell metabolism.

Lycopene and Colorectal cancer

These powerful antioxidant benefits were also shown in colorectal cancer in vitro and in vivo - researchers using colorectal cancer cells and also animal models with CRC have shown that lycopene can control cell proliferation and progression by interacting with a good number of important cellular signaling pathways.  

Lycopene and pancreatic cancer

In a four year Canadian study (6) involving 4,700 healthy people and 462 patients, all using food questionnaires, those consuming high levels of carotenoids reduced their risk of pancreatic cancer. But the biggest benefit was found for lycopene, with: a 31 per cent reduced risk in the heavy intake group over the light group. 

Lycopene, heart disease and cancer?

Lycopene is taken by some people to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and atherosclerosis risk. Lycopene has also been used with cataracts, HPV infections and asthma. It is used with a variety of cancers, not just prostate - there is also limited research with breast, lung, ovarian and pancreatic cancer.

It's a question of funding.

Go to: Is Lycopene better than statins?

Go to: the many benefits of Lycopene

"If you are already thinking of buying this product you may like to have a look at what Natural Selection have to offer"



1. Lycopene/tomato consumption and the risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies; J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2013;59(3):213-23.

2. Lycopene and Risk of Prostate Cancer; Medicine (Baltimore) 2015 Aug; 94(33): e1260; Ping Chen, et al..

3. Effect of lycopene and tomato products on cholesterol metabolismPalozza P, Catalano A, Simone RE, Mele MC, Cittadini A; Ann Nutr Metab. 2012;61(2):126-34

4. Dietary Lycopene, Angiogenesis, and Prostate Cancer: A Prospective Study in the Prostate-Specific Antigen Era; Ke Zu, Lorelei Mucci, Bernard A. Rosner, Steven K. Clinton, Massimo Loda, Meir J. Stampfer, and Edward Giovannucci; J Nat Can Inst; 2014 Feb; 106(2): djt43

5. .Lycopene induces cell growth inhibition by altering mevalonate pathway and Ras signaling in cancer cell lines; Palozza P et al; Carcinogenesis 2010 Oct;31(10):1813-21.

6. Dietary intake of lycopene is associated with reduced pancreatic cancer risk; André Nkondjock, Parviz Ghadirian, Kenneth C Johnson, Daniel Krewski,; J Nutr; 2005 Mar;135(3):592-7.  

7.  Phytochemicals in cancer prevention and therapy: Truth or dare?  Russo M, Spagnuolo C, Tedesco I, Russo GL.Toxins (Basel) 2010;2:517–51.

8. Implications of cancer stem cell theory for cancer chemoprevention by natural dietary compounds; J Nutr Biochem 2011 Sep;22(9):799-806.



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