May, 20 2003-- Detroit, MI--Recruitment of cigarette smokers has begun for a pilot study evaluating the role of tomato lycopene in reducing oxidative stress, a causative factor in lung cancer. Previous studies established the association between increased consumption of tomato products rich in lycopene and a decreased risk of lung cancer. Lycopene may play a primary protective role and may be responsible for the lower lung cancer risk in people that consume a lot of tomato products.
Principal investigator, oncologist, Omer Kucuk MD, FACN, of Karmanos Cancer Institute, noting that dietary intake of beta carotene appears to decrease lung cancer risk while supplementation with high dose beta carotene increases risk in smokers, stated that “To avoid a similar paradoxical increase in lung cancer in individuals taking lycopene supplements, small pilot studies investigating lycopene-tobacco interaction are warranted.”
According to Dr. Kucuk, well known for his work on tomato lycopene and prostate cancer, “This new pilot study will allow us to determine the effect of lycopene supplementation on oxidative stress, and on biomarkers of cell proliferation and DNA damage in smokers who take 15 mg of a lycopene supplement.”
Healthy Origins, a Pittsburgh-based manufacturer of specialty supplements, will be supplying study subjects with LYC-O-MATO® - a tomato extract providing 15 mg of lycopene. LYC-O-MATO® is manufactured by LycoRed Natural Products Industries, Ltd.