The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a report that lycopene prevents prostate cancer. Lycopenes belong to the carotenoids, which is a group of antioxidant plant chemicals. They are responsible for the red color of tomatoes and other red-pigmented foods.
Regarding this report Harvard researchers looked at data from 49,898 male health professionals. Dietary questionnaires and the number of prostate cancer cases and related deaths have been tracked between 1986 and 2010. The researchers compared the data related to the group with the top 20% of lycopene intake with the data from the group with the bottom 20% of lycopene intake.
There was a 28% lower risk of developing prostate cancer for the top lycopene group when compared to the bottom lycopene group. When the risk of lethal prostate cancer was calculated (those who actually die of prostate cancer during the study) the numbers were even more striking: the health care professionals who had the highest intake of lycopenes had a 44% low risk of dying from prostate cancer than those in the lowest lycopene group.
Finally, the researchers looked at early intake of lycopenes versus late start of taking in lycopenes and they found that early and ongoing exposure to lycopenes was more protective from prostate cancer. They also found that cancer markers in the blood were lower in the high lycopene group, in particular angiogenesis markers that are responsible for making prostate cancer metastasize. The high lycopene group had much less of the substances in the blood that form new blood vessels by a tumor when compared to the low lycopene group; this translated into less prostate cancer metastases and less prostate cancer mortality.
More information is available at Prostate Cancer
Reference: J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Feb1; 106(2):dj430.