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Lycopene Reduces Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Higher intake of lycopene reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to researchers from the University of Ottawa who published their study results in the Journal of Nutrition1.

The case control study compared 462 patients with pancreatic cancer and 4,721 population controls, and assessed specific and total carotenoid intakes. Lycopene, provided mainly by tomatoes, reduced pancreatic cancer risk by 31 percent among men, when comparing the highest and lowest quartiles of intake. In addition, higher intakes of beta-carotene and total carotenoids significantly reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer among men and women who never smoked.

Another study in the same journal2 reviewed data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the United States to determine the relationship between serum lycopene concentrations and certain populations, lifestyles and body chemistry. Adjusted lycopene concentrations were almost 50 percent lower in those over 70 years than in those under 30, and 61 percent lower among those with the highest versus the lowest serum cholesterol levels. Dietary influences included an 11 percent lower serum lycopene concentration in individuals who never ate tomatoes versus those who ate them more than 31 times a month, a 13.5 percent lower concentration among pizza non-eaters than those who ate pizza more than 16 times per month, and a 20 percent lower concentration in pasta non-eaters than those who ate pasta with tomato sauce more than 16 times per month.


1. Journal of Nutrition (135:592-7, 2005)

2. J Nutr, 135:567-72, 2005

Key concepts: lycopene, tomato, pancreatic cancer