Rehydrating tomatoes boosts anti-cancer punch: study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Prostate cancer, Cancer

The anti-cancer activity of tomatoes, particularly in the prostate,
could be boosted by dehydrating and then rehydrating the fruit,
suggests a new study with rats.

Dehydration of tomatoes leads to the formation of carbohydrate derivative compounds, one of which is a ketosamine that acts synergistically with lycopene. Forty-five per cent fewer rats with prostate cancer died after being fed the mixture of the ketosamine and tomato paste than diseased animals not fed the mixture, scientists report in Cancer Research​. The study appears to highlight the synergistic effects of lycopene and other compounds present in tomatoes. Epidemiological evidence has suggested that tomato-based foods can protect men from prostate cancer. Doubts have been raised however about the benefits of the carotenoid after the FDA reported finding no credible evidence supporting lycopene intake and a reduced risk of prostate, lung, colorectal, gastric, breast, ovarian, endometrial, or pancreatic cancer. The FDA has approved a claim on the role of tomatoes in reducing the risk of prostate, gastric, ovarian and pancreatic cancers, indicating that the other compounds found in the whole fruit may be conferring benefits, possibly in synergy with lycopene. One such compound could be the ketosamine FruHis, suggest the findings of the new study by researchers from the University of Missouri. "Before this study, researchers attributed the protective effect of tomatoes to ascorbic acid, carotenoids, or phenolic compounds,"​ explained lead author Valeria Mossine. "FruHis may represent a novel type of potential dietary antioxidant. Experiments like these suggest that a combination of FruHis and lycopene should be investigated as a potential therapeutic anti-tumor agent, not just a prevention strategy."​ Over half a million news cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year world wide, and the cancer is the direct cause of over 200,000 deaths. More worryingly, the incidence of the disease is increasing with a rise of 1.7 per cent over 15 years. Animal data ​ Mossine and co-workers divided 80 Wistar-Unilever rats into four equal groups and fed them a control diet or a diet supplemented with tomato paste, tomato powder or tomato paste plus additional FruHis. One week later, and for three weeks, the animals were then injected with chemicals to induce prostate cancer. Consumption of the tomato paste-FruHis supplemented diet was associated with the longest survival from cancer at 51 weeks compared with 50 weeks in the tomato powder group, 45 weeks in the tomato paste alone group and 40 weeks in the control group, report the researchers. Furthermore, only ten per cent of the animals in the tomato paste-FruHis group had prostate tumours, compared to 30 per cent in the tomato powder group, 25 per cent in the tomato paste alone group, and 60 per cent in the control group. In vitro experiments investigating the properties of the ketosamine at a cellular level revealed that concentrated FruHis could protect against DNA damage known to lead to prostate cancer. Moreover, over 98 per cent of cancer cell growth was inhibited when The growth of cancer cells was inhibited when FruHis was combined with lycopene (LycoRed). "This study has identified a novel, processing-defined agent in tomato products, the carbohydrate ketosamine FruHis, which showed anti-tumorigenic potential in two rat prostate cancer models,"​ wrote Messine and co-authors. "This result may introduce an additional intrigue into an ongoing dispute over the beneficial effects of dietary lycopene and tomato products in lowering the risk of prostate cancer because it suggests the presence of a potential chemopreventive agent(s) in tomato products prepared by rehydration of tomato powder. "Whereas it is not possible to retrospectively evaluate ketosamine content in tomato products from the numerous published intervention and epidemiologic studies, the assessment study of the clinically relevant effects of ketosamines from dietary tomato products in humans is warranted,"​ they concluded. Source: Cancer Research​ (American Association for Cancer Research) June 1, 2008, Volume 68, Issue 11, Pages 4384-4391, doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-0108 "Interaction of Tomato Lycopene and Ketosamine against Rat Prostate Tumorigenesis" ​Authors: V.V. Mossine, P. Chopra, T.P. Mawhinney

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