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Mediterranean weight loss plan has the potential to impact development of prostate most cancers

In a study investigating a Mediterranean diet in relation to prostate cancer progression in men under active surveillance, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that men with localized prostate cancer reported a staple diet pattern that more closely followed the key principles of a Mediterranean diet Far better as her illness progressed.

“Men with prostate cancer are motivated to find a way to influence the progression of their disease and improve their quality of life,” said Dr. Justin Gregg, assistant professor of urology and lead author of the study published today in Cancer. “A Mediterranean diet is non-invasive, good for overall health, and, as this study shows, has the potential to affect the progression of your cancer.”

After adjusting for factors known to increase the risk of the cancer getting worse over time, such as age, prostate specific antigen (PSA), and tumor volume, men on diets had more fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and fish contained a lower risk of their prostate cancer growing or progressing to a point where many would consider active treatment. The researchers also looked at the effects of diabetes and statin use and found similar risk reductions in these patient populations.

The study, of which the largest number of participants were white, also found that the effects of a Mediterranean diet were more pronounced in African American participants and others who identified themselves as not white. These results are significant because the rate of prostate cancer diagnosis is more than 50% higher in African American men, who are also at greater risk of prostate cancer death and disease progression.

The Mediterranean diet has been consistently linked to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. This study of men with early-stage prostate cancer takes us one step closer to providing evidence-based dietary advice to optimize outcomes in cancer patients who, along with their families, have many questions in this area. “

Carrie Daniel-MacDougall, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Epidemiology and lead author on the study

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States. Since most of the cases are low-risk diseases that are localized in the prostate and have favorable results, many men do not need immediate treatment and choose to have their doctor actively monitored. Treatments for prostate cancer can result in changes in quality of life and deterioration in urinary and sexual function. Hence there is interest in finding changeable factors for men who are treated by active surveillance.

The study tracked 410 men with an active surveillance protocol with localized Gleason Class 1 or 2 prostate cancer. All study participants underwent a confirmatory biopsy at the start of the study and assessed every six months through clinical and laboratory tests of serum antigen PSA and testosterone.

The study participants were 82.9% Caucasian, 8.1% Black and 9% other or stranger. The mean age was 64 years, 15% of the men were diabetic and 44% were using statins.

The men completed a 170-point staple food frequency questionnaire, and the Mediterranean nutritional score was calculated for each participant in 9 energy-adjusted food groups. Participants were then divided into three high, medium, and low adherence groups.

After adjusting for age and clinical characteristics, the researchers found a significant association between a high baseline diet and a lower risk of cancer progression. For every one point increase in Mediterranean nutritional value, the researchers observed a> 10% lower risk of progression. After a mean follow-up of 36 months, 76 men saw their cancer progress.

The study was limited by the small number of events in these mostly low-risk men monitored at MD Anderson. Future research is needed to determine whether the same effects occur in larger and more diverse patient populations and men with higher risk of prostate cancer.

“Our results suggest that consistent adherence to a diet high in plant-based foods, fish, and a healthy balance of monounsaturated fats can be beneficial for men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer,” Gregg said. “We are confident that these results, coupled with additional research and future validation, will encourage patients to adopt healthy lifestyles.”


University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Journal reference:

Gregg, JR, et al. (2021) Mediterranean Diet Adherence and Class Group Progression in Localized Prostate Cancer: An Active Surveillance Cohort. Cancer. doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33182.

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