Glycemic index, glycemic load and risk of prostate cancer

Int J Cancer. 2004 Nov 10;112(3):446-50. doi: 10.1002/ijc.20416.


Dietary carbohydrates have different glycemic and insulinemic potentials depending on type (glycemic index, GI) and amount (glycemic load, GL) of carbohydrate consumed or both. Insulin in turn has been implicated as a risk factor for several cancers, including that of the prostate. We assessed the relationship of GI and GL with prostate cancer risk in a multicenter case-control study. Cases and controls were recruited between 1991 and 2002 in the network of major teaching and general hospitals in 4 Italian areas. Cases were 1,204 men (age range 46-74 years) admitted for incident, histologically confirmed prostate cancer. Controls were 1,352 men (age range 46-74 years) admitted for acute, nonmalignant conditions unrelated to long-term modifications of diet. ORs of prostate cancer and the corresponding 95% CIs were derived using unconditional multiple logistic regression, including terms for age, study center, education, family history of prostate cancer, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol consumption, intake of energy, fiber and lycopenes. Compared to the lowest quintile of GI, the ORs were 1.23, 1.24, 1.47 and 1.57 for subsequent levels of GI. The corresponding values for GL were 0.91, 1.00, 1.20 and 1.41. No heterogeneity was found among strata of selected covariates. We found direct relations between dietary GI and GL and prostate cancer risk. Correcting for potential confounding factors did not substantially modify these associations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates