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19 November 2004
Prostate Cancer - Tomato Oil Study Seeks Participants
by George Atkinson

Lycopene, an antioxidant commonly found in tomatoes and tomato-based products, is believed to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Now, a new study at Northwestern University seeks to determine whether natural tomato oil with a high concentration of lycopene may reverse or delay progression of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), a condition in which abnormal cells form within the prostate and which is the strongest risk factor yet identified for the development of prostate cancer.

Lycopene has been found to have anti-tumor activity in a number of laboratory studies. Also, it has been used in a number of cancer studies in humans that demonstrated a lower cancer rate in people with a high dietary intake of lycopene. Research has shown more than a 20% reduced risk for developing prostate cancer in men who ate more cooked tomato products.

The National Cancer Institute-sponsored study, headed by Peter Gann, will use tomato extract from non-genetically modified tomatoes raised in Israel and specially grown to be high in lycopene content. Results of the study will be useful for clarifying the mechanisms of action of lycopene in the prostate, for designing phase III clinical studies and, more generally, for determining the chemopreventive potential of this relatively non-toxic dietary compound.

To qualify for the lycopene HGPIN study, participants must be aged 40 and older; have had a biopsy indicating HGPIN without cancer within the last two years; be ambulatory, capable of self-care and able to perform light or sedentary work. For more information, interested men can call 312-908-8421.

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