Lycopene and prostate cancer: emerging evidence
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Prostate cancer has the third highest incidence of all cancers in men worldwide and is the most common neoplasm diagnosed among men beyond middle age in many developed countries. Mounting evidence surrounding the consumption of tomato products has shown promise for the prevention of prostate cancer. This protective effect has more recently been linked to lycopene, the most abundant carotenoid in tomatoes. Lycopene is a natural pigment that gives the red color to many foods. In Western countries, 85% of dietary lycopene can be attributed to the consumption of tomato-based products. This article reviews emerging evidence from epidemiologic studies for the role of lycopene in prostate cancer prevention. The majority of evidence currently comes from observational studies, but recent human clinical trials and animal studies have provided additional support. Growing evidence on the biologic mechanisms of lycopene in prostate cancer prevention also confirm the epidemiologic findings.
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