Lycopene May Be Useful in the Treatment of Prostate and Breast Cancer

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 6 No. 1 • February 2003

Lycopene May Be Useful in the Treatment of Prostate and Breast Cancer

As a number of possible “treatment” health claims for dietary supplements line up to wait for a go-ahead court decision, there are now new reports on the potential use of lycopene as an adjunct treatment for prostate and breast cancer, in addition to its prostate cancer preventive effects.

One study1 reports that of 26 men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, half received a tomato oleoresin extract containing 30 mg of lycopene (while the other half received no supplement) for three weeks before they received radical prostatectomy. Biomarkers of cell proliferation and apoptosis were assessed in benign and cancerous tissues. After intervention, the subjects receiving supplementation had smaller tumors (80% vs. 45% less than 4 ml), less involvement of surgical margins and/or extraprostatic tissues with cancer (73% vs. 18% organ-confined disease), and less diffuse involvement of the prostate by high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (33% vs. 0% focal involvement) compared to those who received no supplementation. The mean plasma prostate-specific antigen levels were lower in the intervention group compared with controls. Thus, the authors conclude, “. . . lycopene may have beneficial effects in prostate cancer.” They recommend larger clinical trials.


  1. Kucuk et al. Effects of lycopene supplementation in patients with localized prostate cancer. Exp Biol Med 227:881-5 (2002).

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