According to the results of a large cohort study, men with high blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids may be at an increased risk for developing prostate cancer. The new study, published online on July 10, 2013, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
, confirms similar results found in a 2011 study.
The case-cohort study investigated the relationship between plasma phospholipid fatty acids and prostate cancer risk in 834 men diagnosed with prostate cancer from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial. The researchers also enrolled 1393 men without cancer at baseline. Men whose blood concentrations of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were within the highest quartile had an overall 43% increased risk of prostate cancer compared with participants in the lowest quartile. Participants with the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids were 44% more likely to develop low-grade—and 71% more likely to develop high-grade—prostate cancer than those with the lowest concentrations.
The researchers were surprised by the results, as omega-3 fatty acids are believed to have health benefits due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
“It’s important to note, however, that these results do not address the question of whether omega-3s play a detrimental role in prostate cancer prognosis,” said study author Theodore Brasky, PhD, in a press release.
The authors recommend patients consider potential risks before increasing their intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.