CLEVELAND – Cleveland Clinic researchers have discovered, for the first time, that diet-related molecules in the gut are associated with aggressive prostate cancer, which suggests dietary interventions may help reduce risk.
“What we found is there are certain metabolites that are associated with animal product intake, meat intake, dairy intake, that appear to elevate the risk of lethal prostate cancer,” explained Nima Sharifi, MD, oncologist for Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Sharifi said they looked at blood samples from 700 patients and found that men with elevated levels of a certain metabolite were roughly two or three times more likely to be diagnosed with lethal prostate cancer.
They also learned elevated levels of two nutrients, which are common in animal products, including red meat, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products, were also linked to an increased risk for aggressive prostate cancer.
He said while more research still needs to be done, they hope this information can one day be used to help identify patients who can modify their disease risk by making dietary and lifestyle changes.
“One thing that’s really important, is that we found a correlation and it cannot establish causation. Meaning, we can’t say any of these specific metabolites cause the deadly form of prostate cancer. There’s an association there,” noted Dr. Sharifi.
According to the American Cancer Society, other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States.