Allium vegetables and risk of prostate cancer: a population-based study

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002 Nov 6;94(21):1648-51. doi: 10.1093/jnci/94.21.1648.


Epidemiologic and laboratory studies suggest that allium vegetables and garlic constituents have antitumor effects. In a population-based, case-control study conducted in Shanghai, China, we investigated the association between intake of allium vegetables, including garlic, scallions, onions, chives, and leeks, and the risk of prostate cancer. We administered in-person interviews and collected information on 122 food items from 238 case subjects with incident, histologically confirmed prostate cancer and from 471 male population control subjects. Men in the highest of three intake categories of total allium vegetables (>10.0 g/day) had a statistically significantly lower risk (odds ratio [OR] = 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.34 to 0.76; P(trend)<.001) of prostate cancer than those in the lowest category (<2.2 g/day). Similar comparisons between categories showed reductions in risk for men in the highest intake categories for garlic (OR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.31 to 0.71; P(trend)<.001) and scallions (OR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.18 to 0.51; P(trend)<.001). The reduced risk of prostate cancer associated with allium vegetables was independent of body size, intake of other foods, and total calorie intake and was more pronounced for men with localized than with advanced prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Allium*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Chive
  • Garlic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Odds Ratio
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables