Experimental studies suggest that marine fatty acids have an antitumor effect on prostate tumor cells. The aim of this study was to investigate whether high consumption of fish and marine fatty acids reduces the risk of prostate cancer in humans. We followed 47,882 men participating in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Dietary intake was assessed in 1986, 1990, and 1994, using a validated food frequency questionnaire. During 12 years of follow-up, 2,482 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed, of which 617 were diagnosed as advanced prostate cancer including 278 metastatic prostate cancers. Eating fish more than three times per week was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, and the strongest association was for metastatic cancer (multivariate relative risk, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.37–0.86, compared with infrequent consumption, i.e., less than twice per month). Intake of marine fatty acids from food showed a similar but weaker association. Each additional daily intake of 0.5 g of marine fatty acid from food was associated with a 24% decreased risk of metastatic cancer. We found that men with high consumption of fish had a lower risk of prostate cancer, especially for metastatic cancer. Marine fatty acids may account for part of the effect, but other factors in fish may also play a role.
- Received December 31, 2001.
- Revision received October 28, 2002.
- Accepted November 8, 2002.