March 16, 2009 -- Question: What is the relationship between lycopene and prostate cancer?
Answer: Lycopene is an antioxidant that is found in tomatoes and other red or pink fruits and vegetables, such as grapefruit. Lycopene has been explored for an association to prostate cancer because it is stored in the prostate gland, and animal studies have found a decrease in prostate cancer risk.
However, population studies have been inconsistent in the association of lycopene to prostate cancer. One study found that there was actually an increase in aggressive prostate cancer with lycopene intake.
Therefore, at this point in time, there is no consistent recommendation for lycopene supplementation for prostate cancer risk reduction, and larger, well-designed studies are necessary to explore this association further.