Eating tomatoes and broccoli together can maximize their
protective effect against prostate cancer, according to a new study published
in the January 15 issue of
Tomatoes and broccoli are two vegetables known for their
cancer-fighting properties. But when used together, they are more effective in
shrinking prostate tumors than they are used separately, the new research
"When tomatoes and broccoli are eaten together, we see
an additive effect. We think it's because different bioactive compounds in each
food work on different anti-cancer pathways," said John Erdman, professor
in food science and human Nutrition at the
In the study, Erdman and his doctoral student Kirstie Canene-Adams
fed a diet with 10 percent tomato powder and 10 percent broccoli powder to
laboratory rats that had been implanted with prostate cancer cells. The powders
were made from whole foods.
As control, other rats in the study received either tomato
or broccoli powder alone; or a lycopene supplement, or finasteride, a drug
prescribed for men with enlarged prostates.
Another group of rats was castrated.
Lycopene is the red pigment found in tomatoes that is
believed to be the effective cancer-preventive agent.
The researchers used it to see how the
isolated tomato compound would act differently from the powder from whole
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are known to have sulfur
compounds, a group of the cancer-fighting agents that enhance certain
detoxification enzymes in the human body. Dr. Elizabeth Jeffery, a colleague of
John’s at the University has found that these enzymes are responsible for the
degradation of carcinogens or the cancer causing agents.
After 22 weeks of treatment starting one month prior
to receiving tumor cells, rats on the diet with the tomato/broccoli combo had
their tumors shrunk to a greater degree than other groups of rats whereas rats
castrated experienced comparable results.
Specifically, “lycopene at 23 or 224 nmol/g of the diet insignificantly reduced tumor weights by 7% or 18%, respectively, whereas tomato reduced tumor weight by 34%. Broccoli decreased tumor weights by 42% whereas the 10:10 combination caused a 52% decrease,” the researchers write in their report.
In comparison, castration reduced prostate
weights, tumor areas, and tumor weight by 62% whereas finasteride reduced tumor
are or weight, but had no effect on tumor area or weight.
Biopsies confirmed that tumor cells in the tomato/broccoli
rats were not proliferating as rapidly as those on other diets, according to
The tomato/broccoli combo
also increased apoptosis of cells, promoting deaths of cancer cells.
“Older men with slow-growing prostate cancer who have chosen
watchful waiting over chemotherapy and radiation should seriously consider
altering their diets to include more tomatoes and broccoli," said
To get these effects in men, 1.4 cups of raw broccoli and
2.5 cups of fresh tomato or equivalent amounts of tomato sauce or tomato paste
should be consumed daily, according to Canene-Adams.
The results of the study showed eating tomatoes is more
beneficial than eating a lycopene supplement, suggesting that eating whole
foods is better than taking supplements, Erdman said.
In addition, “Cooked tomatoes may be better than raw
tomatoes. Chopping and heating make the cancer-fighting constituents of tomatoes
and broccoli more bioavailable," he added.
John’s team conducted a study earlier and found that the
tomato powder, tomato carotenoids phytofluene, and lycopene reduced
testosterone levels in men.
was published in the December 2006 issue of
the Journal of Nutrition.
Evidence has been reported that most prostate cancers are
hormone-sensitive. Reducing the male hormone would inhibit growth of prostate
The results indicate that one's diet plays an important role
in risk of prostate cancer and other types of cancer.
Dr. Dean Ornish, president and founder of the
nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research
Institute in Sausalito, California, as well as Clinical
Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San
published a research
article in the Sept. 2005 issue of The Journal of Urology saying that his
dietary and lifestyle program works for prostate cancer patients.
In his study, a group of patients with prostate cancar who
chose not to undergo conventional treatment were assigned a vegan diet (all
veggies and no dairy) and antioxidant supplements.
Also they were instructed to do aerobic
exercise and stress management.
After 12 months, prostate specific antigen (PSA) was found
much lower in the treated group than the group who were not treated with the
former decreased by 4 percent and the latter increased by 6 percent.
When serum samples from the groups were applied to prostate
cancer cell lines, the cells treated with the serum from people who were not on
the program grew eight times faster than those cells treated with serum from
men who underwent the program.
Overall evidence shows that a healthy dietary practice may
likely get prostate cancer under control if not cured.
Combinations of Tomato and Broccoli Enhance Antitumor Activity in Dunning
R3327-H Prostate Adenocarcinomas
Cancer Res first published on January 9, 2007 as
Authors of the tomato/broccoli study are Kirstie
Canene-Adams, Brian L. Lindshield, Elizabeth H. Jeffery, and John W. Erdman Jr.
Illinois and Shihua
Wang and Steven K. Clinton of The Ohio State University. The study was funded
by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the U.S. Department of
Serum Testosterone Is Reduced Following Short-Term
Phytofluene, Lycopene, or Tomato Powder Consumption in F344 Rats
Society for Nutrition J. Nutr. 136:2813-2819, November 2006
Authors: Jessica K. Campbell,
Manabu T. Nakamura,
Mary Ann Lila
John W. Erdman, Jr.*
of Nutritional Sciences,
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health's
National Cancer Institute.
Can Diet Really Control Prostate
Mark Scholz, MD and Ralph Blum
February 2006 vol. 9, no. 1