Lycopene Consumption and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies

Nutr Cancer. 2016 Oct;68(7):1083-96. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2016.1206579. Epub 2016 Jul 29.


A number of epidemiological studies have explored the association between lycopene or lycopene-rich food intake and the risk of colorectal cancer, but the results of these studies have not been consistent. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published in the PubMed and EMBASE databases to quantitatively assess the association between lycopene consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer. A total of 15 studies were included in the meta-analysis, and the summary relative risk (RR) for highest versus lowest category indicated no significant association between lycopene consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer [RR = 0.94, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.80-1.10]. However, a significant inverse association was observed between lycopene consumption and the site of cancer in the colon (RR = 0.88, 95% CI: 0.81-0.96). We also found that the incidence of colon cancer and lycopene intake did not exhibit dose-response relationships. The Grades of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) quality in our study was very low. In conclusion, this meta-analysis indicates that lycopene consumption is not associated with the risk of colorectal cancer. Further research will be needed in this area to provide conclusive evidence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Carotenoids / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Healthy*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Humans
  • Lycopene
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene