The role of tomato products and lycopene in the prevention of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004 Mar;13(3):340-5.


Purpose: To determine whether intake of tomato products reduces the risk of prostate cancer using a meta-analysis.

Methods: We systematically searched MEDLINE and EMBASE and contacted authors to identify potential studies. Log relative risks (RRs) were weighed by the inverse of their variances to obtain a pooled estimate with its 95% confidence interval (CI). Logistic regression and Poisson regression analyses were used to determine the effect produced by a daily intake of one serving of tomato product.

Results: Eleven case-control studies and 10 cohort studies or nested case-control studies presented data on the use of tomato, tomato products, or lycopene and met our inclusion criteria. Compared with nonfrequent users of tomato products (1st quartile of intake), the RR of prostate cancer among consumers of high amounts of raw tomato (5th quintile of intake) was 0.89 (95% CI 0.80-1.00). For high intake of cooked tomato products, this RR was 0.81 (95% CI 0.71-0.92). The RR of prostate cancer related to an intake of one serving/day of raw tomato (200 g) was 0.97 (95% CI 0.85-1.10) for the case-control studies and 0.78 (95% CI 0.66-0.92) for cohort studies.

Conclusions: Our results show that tomato products may play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer. However, this effect is modest and restricted to high amounts of tomato intake. Further research is needed to determine the type and quantity of tomato products with respect to their role in preventing prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cooking
  • Diet*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Structures
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Solanum lycopersicum / chemistry*


  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene