Researchers comparing dietary information from 130 prostate cancer patients with 274 cancer-free controls found that risk of prostate cancer declined with increasing consumption of lycopene, as well as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.
While the findings confirm results from other studies identifying lycopene as a cancer-fighter, they also point to the anti-cancer activity of several other carotenoids.
The team from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Australia, report that those in the highest quartile of lycopene intake had a greater than 80 per cent reduced risk of the cancer over those in the lowest quartile.
The results for beta-cryptoxanthin were almost the same, while the reduced risk was 0.02 for lutein and zeaxanthin, they write in the 1 March issue of the International Journal of Cancer (vol 113, issue 6, pp1010-4).
Consumption of foods including tomatoes, spinach and citrus fruits was also associated with a reduced cancer risk.
The researchers conclude that the "corresponding dose-response relationships were also significant, suggesting that vegetables and fruits rich in lycopene and other carotenoids may be protective against prostate cancer".