High cholesterol may contribute to prostate cancer
Apr 12, 2006 - 6:10:37 PM
High cholesterol may contribute to the development of prostate cancer although further studies are needed to confirm the results, say scientists.
Prostate cancer strikes about one in six US men. The risk factors for prostate cancer are age, ethnic background and family history.
But researchers led by Francesca Bravi from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy, found some evidence of the link between cholesterol and prostate cancer, reported the online edition of New Scientist.
Bravi and colleagues reviewed the medical files of nearly 3,000 men under the age of 75 from four different regions of Italy. This included 1,294 men who had prostate cancer and 1,451 men without the disease.
They asked the participants if they had a history of high cholesterol and found that 22 percent of the men with prostate cancer suffered from high cholesterol, compared with 16 percent of the men who did not have these lethal tumours.
After adjusting for other factors such as family history of prostate cancer and smoking, the team found that those with the disease were 50 percent more likely to have high cholesterol than their counterparts who kept their cholesterol levels under control.
However, Bravi said while it was likely that high cholesterol may contribute to the development of prostate cancer, the study did not firmly establish the causative link.
He noted that the body uses cholesterol to make hormones known as androgens, which influence prostate tissue. A surplus of cholesterol may lead to unbalanced production of the hormone.
While cutting levels of cholesterol is known to be good for heart health, the researchers observe that it is too soon to corroborate that the same applies to prostate health. "Further studies are needed to confirm the results of our investigation before any dietary recommendations can be given," Bravi said.
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