Diet and supplement use in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial


A new report states that there is minimal evidence of any well-defined effect of diet, nutrition or supplement use on the prevention of prostate cancer based on data collected as part of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT).

In 2001, Neuhouser et al. published preliminary data on the use of dietary supplements by > 15,000 participants in the PCPT. A new article by Kristal et al. now addresses the effects of diet and dietary supplements on risk for prostate cancer in 9,559 of the participants in this trial.

Nutrient intake during the course of the trial was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire and a structured supplement use questionnaire.

The results reported by Kristal et al. are as follows:

  • Cancer was found in 1,703/9,559 men, of whom 127 had high-grade disease (Gleason score 8 to 10).
  • There was no evidence of any association between use of any specific nutrient and overall risk for prostate cancer.
  • Risk for high-grade prostate cancer was, however, associated with high intake of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Dietary calcium was positively associated with a finding of low-grade prostate cancer.
  • Conversely, however, dietary calcium was inversely associated with a finding of high-grade prostate cancer.
  • There was no evidence that diet or the use of supplements in common use for prostate cancer prevention (e.g., lycopene, long-chain n-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin E, and selenium) significantly affected risk for prostate cancer.

The authors conclude exclusively that a high dietary intake of polyunsaturated n-6 fatty acids may increase prostate cancer risk because of their effects on inflammation and oxidative stress.

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