Circulating fatty acids and prostate cancer risk in a nested case-control study: the Multiethnic Cohort

Cancer Causes Control. 2009 Mar;20(2):211-23. doi: 10.1007/s10552-008-9236-4. Epub 2008 Sep 27.


Objective: Dietary fat, including specific fatty acids, has been proposed to contribute to prostate cancer pathogenesis, but findings from the studies based on biomarkers have been conflicting.

Methods: We examined the association between erythrocyte membrane fatty acid composition and prostate cancer risk in a nested case-control study within a multiethnic cohort of African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and Whites. Analyses included 376 cases and 729 matched controls. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals with adjustment for multiple covariates.

Results: No significant association was found for saturated, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acid, or for specific n-3 and n-6 fatty acids, even when the analysis was limited to advanced or high grade prostate cancer. In ethnic specific analyses, there was a positive association with palmitic acid in Japanese Americans that was significantly different from the null results in other groups. There was also an increased risk with n-3 fatty acids and the ratio of n-3/n-6 fatty acids in Whites.

Conclusion: Although there was a suggestion of ethnic specific associations with some fatty acids, our overall findings do not support a role for fatty acids in prostate carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asian / ethnology
  • Black or African American / ethnology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Erythrocytes / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Hawaii
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Risk Factors
  • White People / ethnology


  • Fatty Acids