Prostate Cancer Prevention by Nutritional Means to Alleviate Metabolic Syndrome

Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;86(3):s889-93. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/86.3.889S.


In 1987 when Reaven introduced syndrome X (metabolic syndrome, or MS), we were studying skeletal muscle insulin resistance and found that when rodents were fed a high-fat, refined-sugar (HFS) diet, insulin resistance developed along with aspects of MS, including hyperinsulinemia, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, and obesity. MS was controlled in rodents by switching them to a low-fat, starch diet and was controlled in humans with a low-fat starch diet and daily exercise (Pritikin Program). Others reported inverse relations between serum insulin and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). When subjects were placed on the Pritikin Program, insulin fell and SHBG rose and it was suggested that prostate cancer might also be an aspect of MS. A bioassay was developed with tumor cell lines grown in culture and stimulated with serum before and after a diet and exercise intervention. Diet and exercise altered serum factors that slowed the growth rate and induced apoptosis in androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells. Changes in serum with diet and exercise that might be important include reductions in insulin, estradiol, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and free testosterone with increases in SHBG and IGF binding protein-1. Hyperinsulinemia stimulates liver production of IGF-I, plays a role in the promotion of prostate cancer, and thus is the cornerstone for both MS and prostate cancer. Adopting a low-fat starch diet with daily exercise controls MS and should reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / physiology
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / physiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I