Tomato product consumption and estimated lycopene intake are hypothesised to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. To define the impact of typical servings of commercially available tomato products on resultant plasma and prostate lycopene concentrations, men scheduled to undergo prostatectomy (n 33) were randomised either to a lycopene-restricted control group ( < 5 mg lycopene/d) or to a tomato soup (2–2¾ cups prepared/d), tomato sauce (142–198 g/d or 5–7 ounces/d) or vegetable juice (325–488 ml/d or 11–16·5 fluid ounces/d) intervention providing 25–35 mg lycopene/d. Plasma and prostate carotenoid concentrations were measured by HPLC. Tomato soup, sauce and juice consumption significantly increased plasma lycopene concentration from 0·68 (sem 0·1) to 1·13 (sem 0·09) μmol/l (66 %), 0·48 (sem 0·09) to 0·82 (sem 0·12) μmol/l (71 %) and 0·49 (sem 0·12) to 0·78 (sem 0·1) μmol/l (59 %), respectively, while the controls consuming the lycopene-restricted diet showed a decline in plasma lycopene concentration from 0·55 (sem 0·60) to 0·42 (sem 0·07) μmol/l ( − 24 %). The end-of-study prostate lycopene concentration was 0·16 (sem 0·02) nmol/g in the controls, but was 3·5-, 3·6- and 2·2-fold higher in tomato soup (P= 0·001), sauce (P= 0·001) and juice (P= 0·165) consumers, respectively. Prostate lycopene concentration was moderately correlated with post-intervention plasma lycopene concentrations (r 0·60, P =0·001), indicating that additional factors have an impact on tissue concentrations. While the primary geometric lycopene isomer in tomato products was all-trans (80–90 %), plasma and prostate isomers were 47 and 80 % cis, respectively, demonstrating a shift towards cis accumulation. Consumption of typical servings of processed tomato products results in differing plasma and prostate lycopene concentrations. Factors including meal composition and genetics deserve further evaluation to determine their impacts on lycopene absorption and biodistribution.