What is the role of saturated fat in the etiology of prostate cancer?

Updated: Oct 11, 2019
  • Author: Mark A Moyad, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Saturated fat constitutes the largest proportion of fat in Western diets and is consumed primarily in animal-derived foods. Although the intake of animal fats and saturated fats correlates with prostate cancer risk, this association is not as strong when adjusted for total energy intake, as noted above.

In addition, a direct cause and effect has not been established. Several mechanisms have been suggested to explain the relationship between saturated fatty acids and prostate cancer. They involve insulinlike growth factor-1 (IGF-1), hormone metabolism, and free-radical damage. A low-fat diet, for example, seems to correlate with lower levels of IGF-1, testosterone, and estradiol levels and higher levels of insulinlike growth factor–binding protein 1 and sex hormone–binding globulin. The POUNDS LOST trial suggests similar changes in some of these metabolic markers with a reduced caloric intake and weight loss. [20]


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