SEATTLE The largest study ever to examine the association of dietary fats and prostate cancer risk has found what's good for the heart may not be good for the prostate.
Analyzing data from a nationwide study involving more than 3,400 men, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that men with the highest blood percentages of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, an inflammation-lowering omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fatty fish, have two-and-a-half-times the risk of developing aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared to men with the lowest DHA levels.
Conversely, the study also found that men with the highest blood ratios of trans-fatty acids which are linked to inflammation and heart disease and abundant in processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils had a 50 percent reduction in the risk of high-grade prostate cancer. In addition, neither of these fats was associated with the risk of low-grade prostate cancer risk. The researchers also found that omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in most vegetable oils and are linked to inflammation and heart disease, were not associated with prostate cancer risk. They also found that none of the fats were associated with the risk of low-grade prostate cancer.
These findings by Theodore M. Brasky, Ph.D., and colleagues in the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division were published online April 25 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
"We were stunned to see these results and we spent a lot of time making sure the analyses were correct," said Brasky, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Hutchinson Center's Cancer Prevention Program. "Our findings turn what we know or rather what we think we know about diet, inflammation and the development of prostate cancer on its head and shine a light on the complexity of studying the association between nutrition and the risk of various chronic diseases."
The researchers undertook the stud
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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center