Purpose: Several studies have examined the association between polyunsaturated fatty acids and prostate cancer risk. We evaluated the evidence on the association between the essential polyunsaturated fatty acid, known as alpha-linolenic acid, and the risk of prostate cancer in humans.
Materials and methods: We comprehensively reviewed published studies on the association between alpha-linolenic acid and the risk of prostate cancer using MEDLINE.
Results: A number of studies have shown a positive association between dietary, plasma or red blood cell levels of alpha-linolenic acid and prostate cancer. Other studies have demonstrated either no association or a negative association. The limitations of these studies include the assumption that dietary or plasma alpha-linolenic acid levels are positively associated with prostate tissue alpha-linolenic acid levels, and measurement errors of dietary, plasma and red blood cell alpha-linolenic acid levels.
Conclusions: More research is needed in this area before it can be concluded that there is an association between alpha-linolenic acid and prostate cancer.