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Lycopene Does Not Appear to Prevent Prostate Cancer

Beta-carotene linked to heightened risk of aggressive prostate cancer

MONDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- The carotenoid pigment lycopene that is found in tomatoes does not appear to prevent prostate cancer, according to a report in the May issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Ulrike Peters, Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues studied the connection between prostate cancer, lycopene, beta-carotene and other serum carotenoids in 692 prostate cancer patients who were diagnosed up to eight years after the launch of a large cancer study.

The researchers found no link between prostate cancer risk and serum lycopene (odds ratio 1.14 for highest versus lowest quintile). They found a link between aggressive prostate cancer risk and elevated serum beta-carotene (OR 1.67), especially for distant stage or regional cancer.

"In this large prospective study, high serum beta-carotene concentrations were associated with increased risk for aggressive, clinically relevant prostate cancer," the authors write. "Lycopene and other carotenoids were unrelated to prostate cancer. Consistent with other publications, these results suggest that lycopene or tomato-based regimens will not be effective for prostate cancer prevention."

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