You Say 'Tomato,' FDA Says 'Not a Cancer Cure-All'

Study shows no link between lycopene and reduced risk of many types of the disease
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2007 1:25 PM CDT
A shopper selects tomatoes priced at $4.00 per pound at the open-air farmer's market in Santa Monica, Calif., Wednesday, June 13, 2007. Consumers brushed off rising gasoline prices and slumping home sales...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tomatoes and lycopene, the pigment that gives them their color, do not prevent cancer, the FDA says, contradicting preliminary research. Researchers analyzed 145 studies of lycopene, tomatoes, and cancer risk and found "no credible evidence" that the vegetable wards off lung, colorectal, breast, cervical or uterine cancers, according to a report released yesterday.

Investigators generated "very limited evidence" that tomatoes can reduce the risk of prostate, ovarian, gastric and pancreatic cancer. But studies on tomatoes' preventative success with prostate cancer were measured before the use of early-detecting PSA tests, and one Harvard doctor says "promising" results suggest tomatoes could decrease the risk of late-stage prostate cancer.