Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tomato nutrient may intercept cancer growth

Date:
January 31, 2012
Source:
University of Portsmouth
Summary:
A nutrient in cooked tomatoes has been shown in laboratory studies to slow the growth of or even kill prostate cancer cells.

Tomatoes. A nutrient in cooked tomatoes has been shown in laboratory studies to slow the growth of or even kill prostate cancer cells.
Credit: Elnur / Fotolia

A nutrient in cooked tomatoes has been shown in laboratory studies to slow the growth of or even kill prostate cancer cells.

Dr Mridula Chopra and colleagues at the University of Portsmouth tested the effect of the nutrient lycopene on the simple mechanism through which cancer cells hijack a body's healthy blood supply in order to grow and spread.

They found lycopene -- which is what gives tomatoes their red colour -- intercepts cancer's ability to make the connections it needs to attach to a healthy blood supply.

The researchers, from the university's School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, are now calling for tests to check if the same reaction occurs in the human body.

Director of the research Dr Chopra said: "This simple chemical reaction was shown to occur at lycopene concentrations that can easily be achieved by eating processed tomatoes."

The research is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Lycopene is present in all red fruits and vegetables, but its concentrations are highest in tomatoes and it becomes more readily available and biologically active when it comes from processed tomatoes with a small amount of cooking oil added.

Dr Chopra said: "I stress that our tests were done in test tubes in a laboratory and more testing needs to be carried out to confirm our findings, but the laboratory evidence we have found is clear -- it is possible to intercept the simple mechanism some cancer cells use to grow at concentrations that can be achieved by eating sufficient cooked tomatoes."

The research was part-funded by Heinz after the food manufacturer asked for more research to follow up earlier studies by the same researchers which showed a significant increase in lycopene levels in blood and semen samples after subjects ate 400g of processed tomatoes for two weeks.

Dr Chopra and her colleagues Simone Elgass and Alan Cooper had a firm agreement they would publish their results irrespective of the outcome.

Cancer cells can remain dormant for years until their growth is triggered through the secretion of chemicals which initiate the process of linking cancer cells with endothelial cells (healthy gatekeeper cells which line blood vessels) allowing the cancer cells to reach out and attach to the blood supply.

In the laboratory experiments, lycopene was shown to disrupt this linking process without which cancer cells cannot grow.

All cancer cells use a similar mechanism (angiogenesis) to 'feed' upon a healthy blood supply, but the researchers emphasised the importance of this mechanism for prostate cancer because lycopene tends to accumulate in prostate tissues.

Dr Chopra said: "The important thing is for sufficient lycopene to reach where it can matter. We know that in case of prostate tissues it gets there.

"We have tested this in the labs but we don't yet know if the same action will happen in the body. Individuals will vary in how much lycopene their bodies make available to fight cancer cell growth and the ability of lycopene to 'intercept' in this way in the body is likely to vary between tomato products -- both processing and cooking with fat have previously been shown to make lycopene more effective biologically. The type of tomatoes which offer the most effective lycopene also differs and more tests need to be done to find the best breed of tomato for this purpose."

It was suggested in their previous research that smokers might have to consume more tomatoes than non-smokers in order to achieve the benefits of lycopene due to the presence of high oxidative stress in smokers.

Eleanor Barrie, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "Some existing cancer drugs target the formation of new blood vessels, but more research is needed to show how they could be used to help cancer patients. This small study doesn't directly tell us if lycopene has any effect against cancer, but research like this can help us to understand more about how the chemical affects blood vessel formation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Portsmouth. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Simone Elgass, Alan Cooper, Mridula Chopra. Lycopene inhibits angiogenesis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells and rat aortic rings. British Journal of Nutrition, 2011; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114511005800

Cite This Page:

University of Portsmouth. "Tomato nutrient may intercept cancer growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131092735.htm>.
University of Portsmouth. (2012, January 31). Tomato nutrient may intercept cancer growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131092735.htm
University of Portsmouth. "Tomato nutrient may intercept cancer growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120131092735.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins