Post-diagnostic Zinc Supplement Use and Prostate Cancer Survival Among Men With Nonmetastatic Prostate Cancer

J Urol. 2023 Mar;209(3):549-556. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000003080. Epub 2022 Dec 1.


Purpose: Biological and experimental evidence support restoration of normal zinc levels in malignant prostate cells as a promising prostate cancer treatment, yet the influence of zinc supplementation after diagnosis on prostate cancer survival in a human population is unknown.

Materials and methods: We prospectively assessed post-diagnostic zinc supplementation in relation to prostate cancer survival among 5,788 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2019). We used Cox regression models to estimate the multivariable hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals of lethal prostate cancer (distant metastases or prostate cancer-specific death) and all-cause mortality according to post-diagnostic zinc supplement use and dosage.

Results: During a median follow-up of 11 years, we documented 527 lethal prostate cancer events and 3,198 all-cause deaths. Fifteen percent of men reported zinc supplement use post-diagnosis. Compared to nonusers, post-diagnostic zinc supplement use was associated suggestively with a lower risk of lethal prostate cancer (HR [95% CI], 0.82 [0.60-1.13]) and significantly with all-cause mortality (0.84 [0.74-0.96]). The inverse association was mostly observed among men who used post-diagnostic zinc supplements of 1-24 mg/d (lethal prostate cancer: 0.55 [0.32-0.96]; all-cause mortality: 0.77 [0.64-0.93]), while higher dosage did not show a lower risk.

Conclusions: Post-diagnostic low-dose zinc supplement use among nonmetastatic prostate cancer patients was associated with lower risk of lethal prostate cancer and all-cause mortality. A potential benefit of low-dose post-diagnostic zinc supplement for prostate cancer survival merits further study.

Keywords: zinc, dietary supplements, prostatic neoplasms, cohort studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prostate* / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Zinc