May 19, 2005
PHILADELPHIA--Higher intake of dairy foods and calcium may put men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, according to new research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (81, 5:1147-54, 2005). Researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center analyzed population data from more than 3,600 men from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Epidemiologic Follow-up Study cohort. Men in the highest tertile of dairy intake had a relative risk (RR) of 2.2 compared to men in the lowest tertile; low-fat milk also increased the risk (1.5 RR) but whole milk did not (0.8 RR). Dairy calcium also more than doubled the risk of prostate cancer in the highest tertile of intake versus the lowest, though there was no clear association between prostate cancer and vitamin D or phosphorus intake. The researchers concluded dairy consumption may increase prostate cancer risk through a calcium-related pathway. However, they cautioned that calcium and low-fat milk may reduce the risk of colon cancer, suggesting the mechanisms of action by which dairy and calcium impact the risks of these cancers still need to be elucidated.
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