Molecules in blood may predict aggressive prostate cancer risk

New WCRF funded study published in the International Journal of cancer

29 May 2019

Prostate cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world, with more than 1,200,000 cases diagnosed in 2018. This study, part-funded by WCRF, is the largest investigation of metabolite profile and prostate cancer risk to date.

Lead researcher, Dr Julie Schmidt from the University of Oxford, said: “This study identifies patterns in molecules found in our blood that are linked to the risk of prostate cancer. More specifically we looked at metabolites, modifiable substances formed in our body due to our metabolism and the food we eat. We found that men with higher levels of certain substances – such as phospholipids – in their blood had lower risk of more aggressive prostate tumours and death from prostate cancer.”

“These phospholipids can be found in the foods we eat (mainly from animal foods such as eggs, poultry and dairy) and are also naturally produced within the body. Moreover, the levels in our body are related to fitness level, alcohol intake and BMI.”

Dr Anna Diaz Font, Senior Science Manager at WCRF: “We know that lifestyle plays a major role in cancer, and this research has helped identify markers in the blood related to diet and lifestyle, that may predict your risk of cancer. Now we need more research into whether diets high in these specific phospholipids are the actual cause of an increase or decrease in prostate cancer risk. This could help inform the future design of effective public health policies and campaigns aimed at prostate cancer prevention.”

“The most important ways to reduce your risk of cancer are to not smoke, maintain a healthy weight, be more active each day, and eat a healthy diet.”