However, there were no significant differences in cancer rates for the female mice used in the study.
Experts tested the hypothesis on mice - and found male mice fed a diet of tomato powder daily for 35 weeks experienced a 50 per cent decrease in skin cancer tumours after exposure to UV light, in comparison to those which did not eat the dehydrated tomato. Although it is worth noting that male mice tumours are generally more numerous, larger and more aggressive than their female counterparts.
She further stated that "previous human clinical trials suggest that eating tomato paste over time can dampen sunburns, perhaps thanks to carotenoids from the plants that are deposited in the skin of humans after eating, and may be able to protect against UV light damage".
Tatiana Oberyszyn, senior author, said: "This study showed us that we do need to consider sex when exploring different preventive strategies".
Meteo: caldo a 40 gradi in tutta Italia
In Toscana tempo stabile al mattino con cieli poco nuvolosi lungo la costa, ma con tempo asciutto; sole prevalente al pomeriggio. Al Centro tempo stabile e generalmente soleggiato, salvo qualche banco di nubi sparse verso sera tra dorsale e adriatiche.
"Lycopene, the primary carotenoid in tomatoes, has been shown to be the most effective antioxidant of these pigments", Jessica Cooperstone, co-author of the study and a research scientist in the Department of Food Science and Technology in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State, said in a statement.
"However, when comparing lycopene administered from a whole food [tomato] or a synthesized supplement, tomatoes appear more effective in preventing redness after UV exposure, suggesting other compounds in tomatoes may also be at play", she added. Another group of mice got the ultraviolet but not the tomatoes.
"What works in men may not always work equally well in women and vice versa". An active compound, called Lycopene, present in fresh tomatoes is now a customary extract found in most cosmetics and skincare products.
In 2012, 5.4 million people were diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer-the most common form of cancer. While non-melanoma skin cancers have a relatively low mortality rate, they are costly, disfiguring and are increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The study concludes the alternative methods for systemic protection, through nutritional interventions can be modulated to reduce risk of skin related diseases. Foods are not drugs, but they have the potential to alter the development of certain diseases.