Is There a Benefit From Lycopene Supplementation in Men With Prostate Cancer? A Systematic Review

F Haseen; MM Cantwell; JM O'Sullivan; LJ Murray


Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2009;12(4):316–324 

In This Article


Search Strategy

OVID MEDLINE, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL Plus, Web of Science, AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine Database) and CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library) databases, was systematically searched for relevant studies published till January 2009. Search terms included prostate cancer (prostate cancer patient$, prostate cancer survivor$, prostate cancer$ or prostatic neoplasms$, prostate carcinoma, prostatic cancer$, 'cancer of the prostate','cancer of prostate'), lycopene (lycopene, lycopersicon esculentum, tomato$) and progression (prostate-specific antigen/or psa, 'prostate specific antigen', prognosis, 'side effect', 'aggressive', 'stage', 'grade', 'gleason score', 'treatment outcome', 'clinical response', complication$, 'urinary incontinence', pain or 'bone pain', 'bone metastases', osteoporosis, an?emia or anemia, 'weight gain' 'body composition', body mass index/or 'body mass', obesity/or 'fat mass', tumo?r). The three categories were combined in an attempt to cover as many variations as possible for (i) prostate cancer, (ii) lycopene and (iii) progression. The search was limited to studies in humans. Bibliographies of published reviews on lycopene supplementation were also screened for potentially relevant studies.

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Intervention studies (RCTs, nonrandomized controlled trials or before-after studies) involving lycopene supplementation in any form (for example, tablet/capsule, whole tomato, tomato sauce or tomato juice) in prostate cancer patients, regardless of their disease duration, stage and treatment modalities, were included. Studies examining mixed supplementation with lycopene and other nutrient/supplements were excluded.

Outcome Measures

The primary outcome of interest was disease progression of prostate cancer measured by changes in the PSA level. Secondary outcome measures were side effects/toxicity, complications associated with prostate cancer and its treatment (pain, urinary tract symptoms) and survival.

Study Selection and Data Extraction

The titles and abstracts of papers identified in the initial search were reviewed and classified as potentially relevant by three independent reviewers (FH, LJM and MMC). In cases in which there was doubt with regard to the relevance of a paper, a full-text copy was examined. Full-text copies of potentially relevant copies were reviewed against the inclusion criteria by two authors (FH and MMC), and data were independently extracted from included studies by these authors. Extracted data included study setting, study design, study population (age, cancer stage, treatment received and duration), sample size, supplementation method used, doses and frequency of administration of supplement, duration of intervention and follow-up, outcome measures used, statistical approaches used and the results.

Methodological Quality Assessment

The quality of the included articles was assessed using the Jadad scoring method. This validated scale allows the assessment of the methodological quality of the RCT trial by quantifying the study's randomization, blinding methods and description of patient dropouts/withdrawals. This tool scores quality from 0 to 5 and studies scoring <3 points are considered to be low in quality.[26]


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: