Pan-Fried Meat, Poultry May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

August 17, 2012

2 Min Read
Pan-Fried Meat, Poultry May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

LOS ANGELESCooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as 40%, according to a new study published in the journal Carcinogenesis. The findings provide new evidence on how red meat and its cooking practices may increase the risk for prostate cancer.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) examined pooled data from nearly 2,000 men who participated in the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study, a multiethnic, case-control study conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Los Angeles. Study participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire that evaluated amount and type of meat intake, including poultry and processed red meat. Information regarding cooking practices (e.g., pan-frying, oven-broiling and grilling) was obtained using color photographs that displayed the level of doneness. More than 1,000 of the men included in the study were diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

We found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30%," said Mariana Stern, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. In addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40%  more likely to have advanced prostate cancer."

When considering specific types of red meats, hamburgersbut not steakwere linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, especially among Hispanic men.  We speculate that these findings are a result of different levels of carcinogen accumulation found in hamburgers, given they can attain higher internal and external temperatures faster than steak," Stern said.

Researchers also found that men with diets high in baked poultry had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer, while consumption of pan-fried poultry was associated with increased risk.  Stern noted that pan-frying, regardless of meat type, consistently led to an increased risk of prostate cancer. The same pattern was evident in Sterns previous research, which found that fish cooked at high temperatures, particularly pan-fried, increased the risk of prostate cancer.

The researchers suspect pan-frying poses a higher risk for prostate cancer due to the formation of the DNA-damaging carcinogensheterocyclic amines (HCAs)during the cooking of red meat and poultry. Other carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), also are formed during the grilling or smoking of meat. There is strong experimental evidence that HCAs and PAHs contribute to certain cancers, including prostate cancer.

In 2010, a report, funded by the Beef and Pork Checkoff program, found no association between red or processed meat consumption and cancer.


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