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. (Read more cancer stories.)