Intake of heterocyclic aromatic amines and the risk of prostate cancer in the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Jan;22(1):109-14. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9680-9. Epub 2010 Nov 20.


Background: Heterocyclic amines (HCA) are positively associated with prostate cancer risk in animal models. Because of mostly inconsistent results of epidemiological studies, we examined the association between intake of HCA and prostate cancer risk.

Methods: In the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort, detailed information on diet, anthropometry, and lifestyle was assessed between 1994 and 1998. Dietary HCA intake was estimated using information on meat consumption, cooking methods, and preferred degree of browning. During 104,195 person-years of follow-up, 337 incident cases of prostate cancer (123 advanced cases) were identified among 9,578 men with valid dietary information. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine the association between intake of 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP), 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), and 2-amino-3,4,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (DiMeIQx) and prostate cancer.

Results: Men in the highest quartiles of PhIP, MeIQx, and DiMeIQx intake, respectively, had no increased risk of prostate cancer compared with men in the lowest quartiles (HR = 0.89, 95% CI 0.66-1.22 [PhIP]; 1.06, 0.77-1.45 [MeIQx]; 0.98, 0.72-1.34 [DiMeIQx]). There were no associations between HCA intake and advanced prostate cancer or between high consumption of strongly browned meat and prostate cancer.

Discussion: Our data do not support the hypothesis that HCA intake as consumed in a regular diet is a risk factor for prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amines / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cooking
  • Diet*
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / adverse effects
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology


  • Amines
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic