Previous studies have examined the role of higher trans-fatty acid consumption on prostate cancer risk, but the results remain unclear. Any potential association may be modified by variants in genes involved with immune and inflammatory responses. To investigate this, we undertook a case-control study (N = 1012) of the association between trans-fatty acid intake and advanced prostate cancer, and evaluated whether this effect was modified by a functional polymorphism in the RNASEL gene (R462Q). Among Caucasians (N = 834), we observed that each type of trans-fatty acid and total trans-fatty acid intake showed a statistically significant positive association with prostate cancer, but only weakly increased risk for the isomers of cis-fatty acids. Compared with the lowest quartile of total trans-fatty acid consumption, the higher quartiles gave odds ratios (ORs) equal to 1.58 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.00, 2.48], 1.95 (95% CI: 1.20, 3.19) and 2.77 (95% CI: 1.60, 4.79) (P-trend = 0.0003); this effect was modified by the RNASEL R462Q polymorphism (P(interaction) = 0.01). Among men with the QQ/RQ genotype, the association between total trans-fatty acid intake and prostate cancer was substantially stronger [ORs of higher quartiles equal to 2.93 (95% CI: 1.62, 5.30), 3.13 (95% CI: 1.64, 5.98) and 4.80 (95% CI: 2.29, 10.08), respectively]. For men with the RR genotype, total trans-fatty acid intake was not associated with disease. This suggests that among Caucasians, positive association between higher trans-fatty acid consumption and prostate cancer may be modified by the functional RNASEL variant R462Q.