OBJECTIVES: The primary prevention of prostate cancer through nutritional modification is becoming a focus of attention as important relationships between diet and cancer are becoming evident. Relevant research is reviewed, along with recent data implicating various vitamin supplements and food products in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.
METHODS: The epidemiology of prostate cancer, and current knowledge of prevention, screening, and progression of neoplasia is discussed. The current understanding of diet and its importance in primary and secondary prevention is explored. Literature searches were performed on MedLine using relevant keywords to find studies relating to prevention and treatment of prostate cancer using dietary methods. Of these, 104 published manuscripts were used. The search was limited from the year 1975 to the present.
RESULTS: Incidence rates for prostate cancer vary according to diet and lifestyle. Several double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials have shown that supplementation with selenium reduces cancer incidence. Inhibitory effects on the growth of in vitro prostate cancer cell lines have been observed with the administration of soy isoflavones, lycopenes from tomatoes, and vitamin D. Other compounds, such as calcium and fatty acids, have been linked to higher incidences of prostate cancer.
CONCLUSIONS: Evidence exists that diet may play an important role in the primary prevention of prostate cancer. Further research is necessary to define the role that nutrition plays in the prevention or promotion of prostate cancer.