It has been hypothesized that blood lipid levels might be associated with prostate cancer risk. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between serum total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides and prostate cancer risk in a cohort study among 2842 Dutch men. By the end of follow-up, 64 incident cases of prostate cancer were identified. Serum total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides were evaluated as potential risk factors for prostate cancer using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models. These analyses were restricted to men who never used cholesterol-lowering drugs (2118 men, 43 cases). Higher total and higher LDL cholesterol were significantly associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (hazards ratios (HR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) per mmol l(-1) were 1.39 (95% CI 1.03-1.88) and 1.42 (95% CI 1.00-2.02), respectively). Similar results were observed for aggressive prostate cancer, whereas for non-aggressive prostate cancer a significant association with HDL cholesterol was found (HR 4.28, 95% CI 1.17-15.67). The results of this study suggest that blood lipid levels may influence risk of prostate cancer. However, the exact roles of different cholesterol fractions on prostate cancer aggressiveness should be further evaluated.