A recent study found there was an 18% reduction in risk found in men eating more than 10 portions of tomatoes a week.3 The researchers concluded that lycopene appears to be playing a significant role in fighting off toxins that can cause DNA and cell damage.

University of Bristol researchers looked at the recommendations on physical activity, diet, and body weight for cancer prevention published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

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They found that only the recommendation on plant foods (high intake of fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber) was found to be associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Foods rich in lycopene include tomatoes and tomato-based products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, and papaya.

For now, Dr. Bock said besides eating more foods rich in lycopene, a low-salt diet is recommended for those at risk of hypertension because it is a RCC risk factor.

Nutritionist Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, the Director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and the former President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, agrees with Dr. Brock. She said while there is a growing body of evidence showing cancer protection from increased lycopene intake, not all studies have reached the same conclusion.

“You need a significant body of evidence to make a health claim and we are not there yet,” said Diekman in an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor.

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Lycopene is a phytonutrient that provides a lot of health benefits, but there are still questions that have to be answered. “We don’t know the exact mechanisms,” said Diekman.

“Plants are packed with nutrients that far exceed what we can understand and lycopene is one of those. There is no indication that supplements are harmful, but there is no indication that they are going to help.”


  1. Ho WJ, Simon MS, Yildiz VO, et al. Antioxidant micronutrients and the risk of renal cell carcinoma in the Women’s Health Initiative cohort. Cancer. 2015;121(4):580-588.
  2. Siegel R, Ma J, Zou Z, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2014. CA Cancer J Clin. 2014;64(1):9-29.
  3. Er V, Lane JA, Martin RM, et al. Adherence to dietary and lifestyle recommendations and prostate cancer risk in the prostate testing for cancer and treatment (ProtecT) trial. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014;23(10):2066-2077.