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Tomato sauce and prostate cancer

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. Several studies have observed that tomatoes and tomato products, especially tomato sauce, have a protective effect against prostate cancer. Researchers at the University of Illinois now report that tomato sauce is also effective in slowing down and perhaps even reversing existing prostate cancer. Their study involved 32 patients with prostate cancer who were scheduled to undergo a radical prostatectomy. The participants underwent a baseline examination to determine their lycopene levels, their PSA (prostate specific antigen) level, and the level of oxidative damage to their DNA (in leukocytes). They were then fed a pasta dish with tomato sauce (3/4 of a cup of commercial spaghetti sauce) once a day for three weeks. The additional daily lycopene intake from the sauce was 30 mg.

At the end of the three-week period lycopene levels in the blood plasma had doubled and lycopene levels in prostate tissue had tripled. The average PSA level had declined from 10.9 ng/mL to 8.7 ng/mL – a drop of 17.5 per cent. The DNA damage indicator in leukocytes dropped by 21.4 per cent after the intervention. The DNA damage level in actual prostate tissue (removed during surgery) was found to be 28.3 per cent lower in the tomato sauce group than in a reference group of seven prostate cancer patients who had not consumed the tomato sauce diet. The researchers conclude that their study "suggests a role for tomato sauce and possibly for lycopene in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer."
Chen, Longwen, et al. Oxidative DNA damage in prostate cancer patients consuming tomato sauce-based entrees as a whole-food intervention. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 93, December 19, 2001, pp. 1872-79

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