High Saturated Fat Intake Increases Aggressive Prostate Cancer Risk

Use of statins may lower the risk of prostate cancer associated with high fat intake.

A recent study suggests a link between the high intake of dietary saturated fat and the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.

The study surveyed 1854 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2009. Participants were drawn from North Carolina and Louisiana as part of the larger North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project study.

The survey consisted of a series of questions based on diet and other factors at the time of the participant’s prostate cancer diagnosis.

Once data was collected, dietary saturated fat was adjusted for total fat intake in statistical models. Researchers made this adjustment to tease apart the effects of saturated fat from total fat intake.

The aggressiveness of the cancer was gauged using results from the patient’s prostate cancer-specific antigen (PSA) test, the clinical stage of their cancer and Gleason grade.

The results of the study, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in New Orleans, found a higher intake of saturated fat was linked to increased prostate cancer aggressiveness.

A diet of high saturated fat contributes to raised levels of cholesterol. In the study, researchers found that men who took statins had a weaker association between saturated fat intake and prostate cancer aggressiveness.

These findings suggest that statins may counteract, but not completely reverse, the effects of high saturated fat intake on prostate cancer aggressiveness.

Additional information revealed that higher levels of polyunsaturated fats, found in foods like fish and nuts, were linked to lower levels of aggressiveness.

The researchers’ goals for the future are to investigate the mechanisms behind these associations.

“We show that high dietary saturated fat content is associated with increased prostate cancer aggressiveness,” said researcher Emma H. Allott. “This may suggest that limiting dietary saturated fat content, which we know is important for overall health and cardiovascular disease prevention, may also have a role in prostate cancer.”