Experimental studies suggest omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) suppress and n-6 PUFA promote prostate tumor carcinogenesis. Epidemiologic evidence remains inconclusive. The objectives of this study were to examine the association between n-3 and n-6 PUFA and prostate cancer risk and determine if these associations differ by race or disease aggressiveness. We hypothesize that high intakes of n-3 and n-6 PUFA will be associated with lower and higher prostate cancer risk, respectively. A case-control study comprising 79 prostate cancer cases and 187 controls was conducted at the Durham VA Medical Center. Diet was assessed using a food frequency questionnaire. Logistic regression analyses were used to obtain odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for the associations between n-3 and n-6 PUFA intakes, the dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids, and prostate cancer risk. Our results showed no significant associations between specific n-3 or n-6 PUFA intakes and prostate cancer risk. The highest dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 was significantly associated with elevated risk of high-grade (OR, 3.55; 95% CI, 1.18-10.69; P(trend) = 0.03), but not low-grade prostate cancer (OR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.43-2.17). In race-specific analyses, an increasing dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids correlated with higher prostate cancer risk among white men (P(trend) = 0.05), but not black men. In conclusion, our findings suggest that a high dietary ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of overall prostate cancer among white men and possibly increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer among all men.
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