The study used data on 1,854 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2004 and 2009, including 321 (17%) with highly aggressive cancer. The participants were part of a larger study called the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project.
Men in the study were asked a series of questions about their diet and other factors when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The researchers gauged the levels and types of fat in the men’s diets, including saturated fats and mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in vegetable oils or fish.
Men who ate diets highest in saturated fat had an overall 51% higher risk of having aggressive prostate cancer when compared to men who ate diets lowest in saturated fat. Men with more aggressive prostate cancer ate more calories and had a higher percentage of calories from fat in their diets. They also ate more saturated fat and less polyunsaturated fat than men with less aggressive cancer.
Cholesterol intake was tied to a higher risk of having aggressive prostate cancer, but only for Caucasian men.
Statin usage also affected the risk level. A diet high in saturated fat contributes to higher blood cholesterol levels. Statins are drugs that lower cholesterol. Among men who ate the diets highest in saturated fat, men who did not take statins had a 71% increased risk of having aggressive prostate cancer, compared to only a 16% increased risk in men who took statins.
Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2016 Sep 6. doi:10.1038/pcan2016.39 [Epub ahead of print]