Scientists are testing the impact of vitamin E and a synthetic version of lycopene, a compound in tomatoes, in cancer patients after they found that the combination slowed the growth of prostate tumors in mice.
Lycopene is the natural chemical that gives tomatoes their rich red color. Studies have suggested that it can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Researchers from Rotterdam presented new research in Geneva last week showing that, in mice studies, the impact of lycopene can be enhanced by using it with vitamin E. The combination of lycopene and vitamin E produced the most active response, and the most significant.
The team tested low and high doses of synthetic lycopene alone and combined with vitamin E and a combination of low dose lycopene and low vitamin E against a placebo in mice injected with human prostate cancer cells.
What was particularly marked was that it was the low dose of both lycopene and vitamin E that was the most effective, demonstrating that more does not necessarily equal better. The combination reduced the growth of the tumors by 73 percent by the 42nd day of the trial.
A study testing the compounds in cancer patients is now under way.
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