Meat, fish, and prostate cancer risk

Amin et al. have just published data from a 917-patient, Canadian, prospective study designed to evaluate the association between diet and risk for prostate cancer. All patients were scheduled to have a transrectal ultrasound-guided prostatic biopsy based on an elevated serum PSA level, a rising serum PSA level, or an abnormal digital rectal examination. Before receiving the results of their biopsy, all patients were asked to complete a self-administered food frequency questionnaire.

The results of this study were clear:

  • Prostate cancer was found in 386/917 patients (42 percent).
  • The mean patient age was 64.5 years.
  • The average (mean) serum PSA levels for men with cancer and benign disease, respectively, were 13.4 ng/ml and 7.3 ng/ml.
  • A meat diet (e.g., red meat, ham, sausages) was significantly associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (odds ratio 2.91, p = 0.027) and a fish diet was significantly associated with less prostate cancer (odds ratio 0.54, p = 0.017).
  • None of the tested dietary components were found to be associated with prostate cancer aggressiveness as measured using the Gleason score.

The authors conclude that, “Fish diets appear to be associated with less risk of prostate cancer detection, and meat diets appear to be associated with a 3-fold increased risk of prostate cancer. These observations add to the growing body of evidence suggesting a relationship between diet and prostate cancer risk.”

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