Cancer Causes & Control

, 17:783 | Cite as

A Prospective Study of Dietary Alpha-linolenic Acid and the Risk of Prostate Cancer (United States)

  • Daniel O. Koralek
  • Ulrike Peters
  • Gerald Andriole
  • Douglas Reding
  • Victoria Kirsh
  • Amy Subar
  • Arthur Schatzkin
  • Richard Hayes
  • Michael F. Leitzmann
Original Paper



Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most common omega-3 fatty acid in the Western diet. The relation of dietary intake of ALA to prostate cancer risk remains unresolved.


We prospectively evaluated total ALA and ALA from specific food sources including animal, fish, and plant sources in relation to prostate cancer risk.


A cohort of 29,592 male participants (age 55–74 years) in the screening arm of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial was followed for an average of 5.1 years.


We ascertained 1,898 cases of total prostate cancer, of which 1,631 were organ-confined cases (stage T1b to T3a and N0M0) and 285 were advanced stage cases (stage≥T3b, N1, or M1). We found no association between total ALA intake and overall prostate cancer (multivariate RR comparing extreme quintiles=0.94; 95% CI=0.81–1.09; P for trend=0.76). The corresponding RRs for organ-confined and advanced prostate cancer were 0.94 (95% CI=0.80–1.10; P for trend=0.80) and 0.83 (95% CI=0.58–1.19; P for trend=0.34), respectively. In addition, no relations were observed between ALA intake from any specific food source and the risks of total, organ-confined, or advanced prostate cancer. ALA intake also showed no association with low grade (Gleason sum<7; 1,221 cases) tumors (P for trend=0.23) or high grade (Gleason sum≥7; n=677 cases) tumors (P for trend=0.26).


In this prospective study of predominantly Caucasian men who were screened annually for newly incident prostate cancer, dietary intake of total ALA and ALA from specific food sources was not associated with risk of total prostate cancer or prostate tumors that were defined by stage and grade.


Prostatic neoplasms Alpha-linolenic acid Epidemiology Cohort studies 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel O. Koralek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ulrike Peters
    • 3
  • Gerald Andriole
    • 4
  • Douglas Reding
    • 5
  • Victoria Kirsh
    • 1
  • Amy Subar
    • 6
  • Arthur Schatzkin
    • 1
  • Richard Hayes
    • 1
  • Michael F. Leitzmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer InstituteNIH, DHHSBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Division of Urologic SurgeryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  5. 5.Marshfield Medical Research and Education FoundationMarshfieldUSA
  6. 6.Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer InstituteNIH, DHHSBethesdaUSA

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