Carcinoma of the prostate is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the third leading cause of mortality in New Zealand men, making it a significant health issue in this country. Global distribution patterns suggest that diet and lifestyle factors may be linked to the development and progression of this cancer. Twenty men with diagnosed prostate cancer adhered to a Mediterranean diet, with specific adaptations, for three months. Prostate-specific antigen, C-reactive protein and DNA damage were evaluated at baseline and after three months of following the diet. Dietary data were collated from diet diaries and an adaptation of a validated Mediterranean diet questionnaire. A significant reduction in DNA damage compared to baseline was apparent, with particular benefit noted for overall adherence to the diet (p = 0.013), increased intake of folate (p = 0.023), vitamin C (p = 0.007), legumes (p = 0.004) and green tea (p = 0.002). Higher intakes of red meat and dairy products were inversely associated with DNA damage (p = 0.003 and p = 0.008 respectively). The results from this small feasibility study suggest that a high-antioxidant diet, modelled on Mediterranean traditions, may be of benefit for men with prostate cancer. Protection against DNA damage appears to be associated with the diet implemented, ostensibly due to reduction in reactive oxidant species. These findings warrant further exploration in a longer trial, with a larger cohort.
Keywords: Antioxidants; DNA damage; Mediterranean style diet; Nutrition; Prostate cancer.