Tomatoes can slow down stomach cancer, according to a new study. The popular Mediterranean fruit inhibits cell growth when eaten in its entirety, researchers found.
This finding could pave the way for studies focusing on preventing the condition, as well as using diet to support conventional treatments, they said.
Such results contradict previous research suggesting that just one chemical, lycopene, has cancer-fighting benefits.
Study author Daniela Barone, from the Oncology Research Center of Mercogliano, Italy, said: ‘[Tomatoes’] effects seem not related to specific components, such as lycopene, but rather suggest that tomatoes should be considered in their entirety.’
The researchers analysed whole tomato extracts for their ability to tackle various features of gastric cancer.
Extracts were taken from the common varieties San Marzano and Corbarino. The results revealed that both extracts affected cancer cells’ ability to spread and develop, as well as leading to their death.
Such findings not only have implications for prevention, but may also pave the way for new treatments, the researchers said.
Study author Professor Antonio Giordano, said: ‘Our results prompt further assessment of the potential use of specific nutrients not only in the cancer prevention setting but also as a supportive strategy along with conventional therapies.’
The research was published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology. Stomach cancer, or gastric cancer, is fairly uncommon. Around 7,000 people are diagnosed with it each year in the UK.
The treatments recommended for stomach cancer will depend on a person’s general health and how far the cancer has spread.
Many cases of stomach cancer cannot be completely cured.
But it’s possible to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life using chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and surgery.
If operable, surgery can cure stomach cancer as long as all of the cancerous tissue can be removed.
Surgery to remove some or all of the stomach is known as a gastrectomy.
Chemotherapy can also be used before surgery to help shrink the tumour and sometimes after surgery to help prevent the cancer returning.
Source: NHS Choices