Investigating the effects of lycopene and green tea on the metabolome of men at risk of prostate cancer: The ProDiet randomised controlled trial

Rhona Beynon*, Rebecca Richmond, Diana Dos Santos Ferreira, Andrew R Ness, Margaret May, George Davey Smith, Emma Vincent, Charleen Adams, Mika Ala-Korpela, Peter Wurtz, Sebastian Soidinsalo, Chris Metcalfe, Jenny Donovan, Group The Protect Study, Consortium The PRACTICAL, J. Athene Lane, Richard Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Lycopene and green tea consumption have been observationally associated with reduced prostate cancer risk, but the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. We investigated the effect of factorial randomisation to a 6-month lycopene and green tea dietary advice or supplementation intervention on 159 serum metabolite measures in 128 men with raised PSA levels (but prostate cancer-free), analysed by intention-to-treat. The causal effects of metabolites modified by the intervention on prostate cancer risk were then assessed by Mendelian randomisation, using summary statistics from 44,825 prostate cancer cases and 27,904 controls. The systemic effects of lycopene and green tea supplementation on serum metabolic profile were comparable to the effects of the respective dietary advice interventions (R 2 = 0.65 and 0.76 for lycopene and green tea respectively). Metabolites which were altered in response to lycopene supplementation were acetate [β (standard deviation difference vs. placebo): 0.69; 95% CI = 0.24, 1.15; p = 0.003], valine (β: -0.62; -1.03, -0.02; p = 0.004), pyruvate (β: -0.56; -0.95, -0.16; p = 0.006) and docosahexaenoic acid (β: -0.50; -085, -0.14; p = 0.006). Valine and diacylglycerol were lower in the lycopene dietary advice group (β: -0.65; -1.04, -0.26; p = 0.001 and β: -0.59; -1.01, -0.18; p = 0.006). A genetically instrumented SD increase in pyruvate increased the odds of prostate cancer by 1.29 (1.03, 1.62; p = 0.027). An intervention to increase lycopene intake altered the serum metabolome of men at risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene lowered levels of pyruvate, which our Mendelian randomisation analysis suggests may be causally related to reduced prostate cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1918-1928
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019

Structured keywords

  • ICEP
  • Centre for Surgical Research
  • BTC (Bristol Trials Centre)


  • prostate cancer
  • Mendelian randomisation
  • green tea
  • lycopene
  • dietary intervention


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