12 January - 20 June 2016

Deep fried food and prostate cancer risk

06 Feb 13

Environmental or lifestyle factors are thought to be attributed to more than half of most prostate cancers.   However incidence of prostate cancer differs between various ethnic and geographic populations, with prostate cancer being rare in most of Asia, but Chinese and Japanese men experience a greater increase in incidence after migration to the USA.  A western diet has also been linked to prostate cancer risk, with previous studies finding a small positive association between total dietary fat consumption and risk, and high fat intake and increased tumour growth.  A study published in The Prostate has investigated whether the consumption of deep fried foods is associated with risk of developing prostate cancer. Stanford et al. analysed data from food frequency questionnaires from two population based case control studies. Participants were Caucasian and African American residents from Washington and aged from 35 to 74 years old.  The studies involved a total of 1549 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1492 healthy controls.  As well as completing a food questionnaire, the participants were asked questions on medical and lifestyle history and prostate screening.  Stanford et al also measured the participants’ height and weight.  Data analysis found that those who suffered with prostate cancer were more likely to have a first degree family member with prostate cancer than the controls. Compared to the controls, consumption of French fries at least once per week was associated with a 37% increased risk, fried chicken a 30% increased risk, fried fish with a 32% increased risk and doughnuts with a 35% increased risk. Apart from French fries and doughnuts there was no increase in prostate cancer risk for consumption of fried chicken, fried fish and snack chips at a intake level of 1-3 times/month compared with  less than 1 month.  Stanford et al discuss a possible reason for their results, stating that foods cooked with high heat contain high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGE). AGEs have been associated with increased oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory effects.  They note that toxic compounds such as aldehydes are increased with the reuse of oil and increased length of frying time.  The authors also investigated whether those who consumed more deep-fried foods lack fruit and vegetables in their diet, but this variable did not alter their findings. They state in conclusion that whether this risk is specific to deep-fried foods, or whether it represents risk associated with regular intake of foods exposed to high heat and/or other aspects of the Western lifestyle, such as fast food consumption, remains to be determined.

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