The relevance of serum levels of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and prostate cancer risk: A meta-analysis

Can Urol Assoc J. 2013 May-Jun;7(5-6):E333-43. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.1056.


Objective: Our objective was to systematically analyze the evidence for an association between serum level long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) and prostate cancer risk from human epidemiological studies. STUDY PROCEDURES: We searched biomedical literature databases up to November 2011 and included epidemiological studies with description of long chain n-3 PUFA and incidence of prostate cancer in humans. Critical appraisal was done by two independent reviewers. Data were pooled using the general variance-based method with random-effects model; effect estimates were expressed as risk ratio with 95% confidence interval (CI). Heterogeneity was assessed by Chi(2) and quantified by I(2), publication bias was also determined.

Results: In total, 12 studies were included. Significant negative association was noted between high serum level of n-3 PUFA doc-osapentaenoic acid (DPA) and total prostate cancer risk (RR:0.756; 95% CI 0.599, 0.955; p = 0.019). Likewise, a positive association between high blood level of fish oil contents, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and high-grade prostate tumour incidence (RR:1.381; 95% CI 1.050, 1.817; p = 0.021) was noted; however, this finding was evident only after adjustment was done on interstudy variability through the removal of a lower quality study from the pool.

Conclusions: High serum levels of long chain n-3 PUFA DPA is associated with reduced total prostate cancer risk. While high blood level of EPA and DHA is possibly associated with increased high-grade prostate tumour risk.