American writer Laurie Colwin once said, “A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” Yes it is, at least most of the people think so. One can hardly imagine a salad or a sandwich or a curry without tomato. Other than its amazing tangy flavour and rich colour, tomato is rich in natural vitamins and minerals which are good for skin, hair and works as a great anti-oxidant. The story doesn’t end here. A recent study has found that tomato extracts can inhibit the growth and malignant cloning of stomach cancer cells, paving the way for treating the deadly disease. As per a report, the research, published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, analysed whole tomato extracts for their ability to tackle gastric cancer cell lines.

As per the report, gastric cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer worldwide and has been associated with genetic causes, Helicobacter pylori infection (bacterial infection that causes stomach inflammation, peptic ulcer disease, and certain types of stomach cancer) and eating habits such as consumption of smoked and salted food.

“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.

Extracts of San Marzano and Corbarino varieties of tomato were able to inhibit the growth and cloning behaviour of malignant cells. Treatment with that affected the 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.

“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,” said Antonio Giordano, professor at the University of Siena in Italy. “Distinct species may exert different effects, in different stages of a certain neoplasm,” Barone added.

Though various tomato components have been analysed for their ability to counteract tumour growth in experimental systems, there are few studies which have analysed the effects of tomatoes in their entirety.

Whatever it be, all the tomato-lovers there make hay as this vegetable/fruit might create a milestone in the history of tackling cancer cells.