Circulating Folate and Vitamin B 12 and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Collaborative Analysis of Individual Participant Data from Six Cohorts Including 6875 Cases and 8104 Controls

Eur Urol. 2016 Dec;70(6):941-951. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2016.03.029. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Abstract

Background: Folate and vitamin B12 are essential for maintaining DNA integrity and may influence prostate cancer (PCa) risk, but the association with clinically relevant, advanced stage, and high-grade disease is unclear.

Objective: To investigate the associations between circulating folate and vitamin B12 concentrations and risk of PCa overall and by disease stage and grade.

Design, setting, and participants: A study was performed with a nested case-control design based on individual participant data from six cohort studies including 6875 cases and 8104 controls; blood collection from 1981 to 2008, and an average follow-up of 8.9 yr (standard deviation 7.3). Odds ratios (ORs) of incident PCa by study-specific fifths of circulating folate and vitamin B12 were calculated using multivariable adjusted conditional logistic regression.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Incident PCa and subtype by stage and grade.

Results and limitations: Higher folate and vitamin B12 concentrations were associated with a small increase in risk of PCa (ORs for the top vs bottom fifths were 1.13 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02-1.26], ptrend=0.018, for folate and 1.12 [95% CI, 1.01-1.25], ptrend=0.017, for vitamin B12), with no evidence of heterogeneity between studies. The association with folate varied by tumour grade (pheterogeneity<0.001); higher folate concentration was associated with an elevated risk of high-grade disease (OR for the top vs bottom fifth: 2.30 [95% CI, 1.28-4.12]; ptrend=0.001), with no association for low-grade disease. There was no evidence of heterogeneity in the association of folate with risk by stage or of vitamin B12 with risk by stage or grade of disease (pheterogeneity>0.05). Use of single blood-sample measurements of folate and B12 concentrations is a limitation.

Conclusions: The association between higher folate concentration and risk of high-grade disease, not evident for low-grade disease, suggests a possible role for folate in the progression of clinically relevant PCa and warrants further investigation.

Patient summary: Folate, a vitamin obtained from foods and supplements, is important for maintaining cell health. In this study, however, men with higher blood folate levels were at greater risk of high-grade (more aggressive) prostate cancer compared with men with lower folate levels. Further research is needed to investigate the possible role of folate in the progression of this disease.

Keywords: Folate; High grade; Pooled data meta-analysis; Prospective cohort; Prostate cancer; Vitamin B(12).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Folic Acid / blood*
  • Hexetidine
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Risk
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood*

Substances

  • Hexetidine
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin B 12