|A tomato a day to keep cancer away? That's the implication of the
most comprehensive review so far of the scientific evidence for eating
fresh and processed tomatoes and reducing the risk of some cancers.
The report, in the current Journal of the National Cancer Institute,
looked at 72 studies and found that 35 of them showed a statistically
significant lower cancer risk among people who ate more fresh
tomatoes and tomato-based products like sauce.
|The ingredient in tomatoes hypothesized to have the apparent
anti-cancer effect is lycopene, which gives the fruit its characteristic
red color. But more research needs to be done before cause and effect
can be established, said Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard researcher
who authored the review.
Some tomato processing companies have already latched onto the
emerging evidence. H. J. Heinz Co. launched an ad campaign last
month, touting its ketchup as America's favorite source of lycopene, to
the dismay of Giovannucci and other researchers, who say it's too early
to say lycopene prevents cancer. They have not received funding from
|But Giovannucci and other researchers participated in a telephone news
conference sponsored by Campbell Soup Company Wednesday, to
highlight what was billed as the conclusion of a Harvard scientific
review, that eating processed tomato products may lower risk of
cancer. Giovannucci said that he has not directly received funding from
Campbell Soup for his research, although he added that company gifts
have funded research assistants in his department.|