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Increased lycopene intakes may reduce kidney cancer risk

March 18, 2015

According to a new US study a higher intake of the antioxidant lycopene may lower the risk of developing renal cell carcinoma in older women.

The observational study analyzed the reported micronutrient intakes from food and dietary supplements of 96,196 postmenopausal women and cases of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) during up to 20 years (1). The data analysis showed that compared to the women with the lowest lycopene intakes, the participants with the highest intakes had a 39% reduced risk of developing RCC. No other micronutrient was significantly associated with RCC risk.

The researchers added that they are now examining whether there is a relationship between antioxidant nutrient intake and kidney cancer risk in a study with a broader population, including both men and women, and with greater representation of African-Americans. RCC is the eighth leading cancer among women in incidence and commonly is diagnosed at a more advanced stage. Oxidative stress has been considered to play an important role in the development of RCC. Thus, dietary micronutrients with antioxidant properties, including carotenoids and vitamins C and E, may support RCC prevention. Lycopene, which is found especially in tomatoes, tomato-based products, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava and papaya, has also been associated with decreased risk of breast and prostate cancers.