Diet, body size, physical activity and risk of prostate cancer: An umbrella review of the evidence

Eur J Cancer. 2016 Dec;69:61-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2016.09.026. Epub 2016 Nov 4.


The existing literature on the relationship between diet, body size, physical activity and prostate cancer risk was summarised by the World Cancer Research Fund Continuous Update Project (CUP). An evaluation of the robustness of this evidence is required to help inform public health policy. The robustness of this evidence was evaluated using several criteria addressing evidence strength and validity, including the statistical significance of the random effects summary estimate and of the largest study in a meta-analysis, number of prostate cancer cases, between-study heterogeneity, 95% prediction intervals, small-study effects bias, excess significance bias and sensitivity analyses with credibility ceilings. A total of 248 meta-analyses were extracted from the CUP, which studied associations of 23 foods, 31 nutrients, eight indices of body size and three indices of physical activity with risk of total prostate cancer development, mortality or cancer development by stage and grade. Of the 176 meta-analyses using a continuous scale to measure the exposures, no association presented strong evidence by satisfying all the aforementioned criteria. Only the association of height with total prostate cancer incidence and mortality presented highly suggestive evidence with a 4% higher risk per 5 cm greater height (95% confidence interval, 1.03, 1.05). Associations for body mass index, weight, height, dietary calcium and spirits intake were supported by suggestive evidence. Overall, the association of diet, body size, physical activity and prostate cancer has been extensively studied, but no association was graded with strong evidence.

Keywords: Diet; Nutrition; Physical activity; Prostate cancer; Umbrella review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Size
  • Body Weight
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*


  • Calcium, Dietary