Researchers have found that whole extracts from two varieties of tomato – San Marzano and Corbarino – block the growth of stomach cancer cells and dampened their malignant characteristics.
Researchers analysed whole tomato extracts for their ability to tackle gastric cancer cell lines.
“Their antitumoral effect seem not related to specific components, such as lycopene, but rather suggest that tomatoes should be considered in their entirety,” said Daniela Barone, researcher at the Oncology Research Centre of Mercogliano (CROM) in Italy.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be around 28,000 cases of stomach cancer diagnosed in the U.S. this year.
Also referred to as gastric cancer, stomach cancer is most common among older adults; around 60 percent of adults diagnosed with the disease are aged 65 or older.
Extracts of San Marzano and Corbarino tomato varieties were able to inhibit the growth and cloning behavior of malignant cells.
Treatment with the whole tomato extracts affected key processes within the cells hindering their migration ability, arresting cell cycle through the modulation of retinoblastoma family proteins and specific cell cycle inhibitors, and ultimately inducing cancer cell death through apoptosis.
Gastric cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer worldwide and has been associated with genetic causes, Helicobacter pylori infection, and eating habits, such as consumption of smoked and salted food.
Tomatoes are consumed worldwide and are a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is popularly thought to lower cancer risk.
Various tomato components have also been analysed for their ability to counteract tumour growth in experimental systems, although few studies have analysed the effects of tomatoes in their entirety.
The research was published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.