Higher omega-3 levels linked to raised risk of prostate cancer

MEN with high serum levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA have more than double the risk of developing aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared with men with lower DHA levels, researchers have found.

Associations between phospholipid fatty acids and prostate cancer were examined in men aged 55–84 years enrolled in a seven-year placebo-controlled trial of finasteride for prevention. The fatty acids nested study included 1600 prostate cancer cases matched to 1800 disease-free controls.

The researchers found trans-fatty acids were significantly lower among cases compared with controls, and DHA was positively associated with high-grade disease (OR 2.50), contrary to the hypothesis that its anti-inflammatory properties would reduce risk.

Australian researcher Professor Peter Clifton, head of the nutrition intervention laboratory at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, said the study was statistically weak.