Tomato-based food products for prostate cancer prevention: What have we learned?

Hsueh Li Tan, Jennifer M. Thomas-Ahner, Elizabeth M. Grainger, Lei Wan, David M. Francis, Steven J. Schwartz, John W. Erdman, Steven K. Clinton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Evidence derived from a vast array of laboratory studies and epidemiological investigations have implicated diets rich in fruits and vegetables with a reduced risk of certain cancers. However, these approaches cannot demonstrate causal relationships and there is a paucity of randomized, controlled trials due to the difficulties involved with executing studies of food and behavioral change. Rather than pursuing the definitive intervention trials that are necessary, the thrust of research in recent decades has been driven by a reductionist approach focusing upon the identification of bioactive components in fruits and vegetables with the subsequent development of single agents using a pharmacologic approach. At this point in time, there are no chemopreventive strategies that are standard of care in medical practice that have resulted from this approach. This review describes an alternative approach focusing upon development of tomato-based food products for human clinical trials targeting cancer prevention and as an adjunct to therapy. Tomatoes are a source of bioactive phytochemicals and are widely consumed. The phytochemical pattern of tomato products can be manipulated to optimize anticancer activity through genetics, horticultural techniques, and food processing. The opportunity to develop a highly consistent tomato-based food product rich in anticancer phytochemicals for clinical trials targeting specific cancers, particularly the prostate, necessitates the interactive transdisciplinary research efforts of horticulturalists, food technologists, cancer biologists, and clinical translational investigators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-568
Number of pages16
JournalCancer and Metastasis Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Food science
  • Horticulture
  • Prevention
  • Tomato

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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