The risk of prostate cancer may be higher in men eating a low-fat diet that is good for the heart, the biggest study ever to look at the link has found.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre examined 3,400 men from across the US.
They found those with the highest levels of an omega-3 fatty acid in their blood had a risk of aggressive prostate cancer that was two and a half times higher than those with the lowest levels.
They looked at percentages of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid found foods such as fish that acts as an anti-inflammatory. The team also examined levels of trans-fatty acids, found in many processed foods that use hydrogenated vegetable oils and linked to heart disease and inflammation.
Men with high blood ratios of these trans-fatty acids had a 50% lower chance of developing a high-grade prostate cancer, the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found.
Omega-6 fatty acids, also found in vegetable oils and thought to add to heart disease risk, have no bearing on the risk of prostate cancer, the research team said. None of the fatty acids examined were found to be linked with low-grade prostate cancer.
Theodore M Brasky, a post-doctoral research fellow who led the research, said: “We were stunned to see these results and we spent a lot of time making sure the analyses were correct.”
- Serum Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk: Results From the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial