Recent reviews, reports and research about diet, supplements and prophylactic drugs

Vegetable fats may reduce risk of death in prostate cancer patients. In a Cancernetwork Oncology web article dated 14 June 2013, Anna Azvolinsky reports an epidemiological study undertaken by Dr Erin L Richman et al amongst 4,577 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer. She states that: "A new study shows that men diagnosed with prostate cancer may do better by substituting carbohydrates and saturated fats with plant-based fats such as those found in nuts and olive oil...The ...study... showed that those men who consumed more vegetable fats after their diagnosis had a lower risk of developing metastatic prostate cancer and dying from the disease compared to men who consumed a diet with more saturated and animal fats. ...Analysis of the participants based on lowest and highest fat consumption quartiles showed that replacing just 10% of calories from carbohydrates with those from vegetable fat was associated with a 29% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer (P = .04). This replacement translated to a 26% lower risk of dying from any cause." In relation to the possible mechanisms that could explain the results Azvolinsky notes: "The influence of diet and balance of vegetable and animal fat sources on prostate cancer initiation and progression still remains to be teased out. What type of meat and how it is cooked may influence patient outcomes and has been little studied. It is also not clear which components of vegetable fats are in fact beneficial. The authors suggest that vegetable oils and nuts are linked with lower insulin and inflammation and could account for the potential benefit. As suggested by Steven Stephen Freedland, MD, urologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, who wrote an accompanying commentary on the study, it is not clear if vegetable fats are in fact beneficial, whether carbohydrates are just harmful, or whether it is a combination of both. According to Freedland, future prospective trials should address this key issue. The Azvolinsky article is here: http://tinyurl.com/m5yhrx8 and the link to the Freedland article is here: http://tinyurl.com/mybvryj

Diet, supplements and prostate cancer risk. The results of a 2010 study written by Alan R Kristal et al, is reported in Medscape Urology News here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/727904 This article appeared in American Journal of Epidemiology. 2010;172(5):566-577. The authors conclude: "in this unique sample of local-stage, biopsy-detected cancers, we found no evidence that dietary or supplemental intake of nutrients often proposed to prevent prostate cancer, including lycopene, n-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin E, and selenium, was associated with risk of low- or high-grade cancer. Our finding that polyunsaturated fat was associated with increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer suggests that further research into inflammation and other metabolic processes affected by these fats may be important in understanding prostate cancer etiology. Our finding of a positive association of calcium with low-grade disease and an inverse association with high-grade disease adds to the inconsistency of findings related to calcium, which may be important and may require further inquiry. The consistent and strong findings from ecologic studies that the adoption of a diet high in fat and animal products, characteristic of Western diets … increases prostate cancer risk are perplexing. It is possible that these ecologic studies are yielding results that do not reflect individual-level cancer risk, that the specific aspects of diet affecting prostate cancer risk have not been adequately measured or identified, or that the association of a Western-style diet with prostate cancer risk cannot be reduced to studies of a single nutrient or set of nutrients."