Regular consumption of deep-fried foods is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, and the effect appears to be slightly stronger with regard to more aggressive forms of the disease, say researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle. While previous studies have suggested that eating foods made with high-heat cooking methods, such as grilled meats, may increase the risk of prostate cancer, researchers say this is the first study to examine the addition of deep-frying to the equation.

For the study, which was published online in the journal Prostate (Jan. 17, 2013), senior author Janet L. Stanford, PhD, and colleagues analyzed data from two prior population-based case-control studies involving 1,549 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,492 age-matched healthy controls. The men were Caucasian and African-American Seattle-area residents and ranged in age from 35 to 74 years. Participants were asked to fill out a dietary questionnaire about their usual food intake, including specific deep-fried foods.

The authors found that men who reported eating French fries, fried chicken, fried fish, and/or doughnuts at least once per week were at an increased risk of prostate cancer as compared to men who said they ate such foods less than once per month.

In particular, men who ate one or more of these foods at least weekly had an increased risk of prostate cancer that ranged from 30% to 37%. Weekly consumption of these foods was associated also with a slightly greater risk of more aggressive prostate cancer. The authors controlled for factors such as age, race, family history of prostate cancer, body mass index, and PSA screening history when calculating the association between eating deep-fried foods and prostate cancer risk.

“The link between prostate cancer and select deep-fried foods appeared to be limited to the highest level of consumption-defined in our study as more than once a week-which suggests that regular consumption of deep-fried foods confers particular risk for developing prostate cancer,” Dr. Stanford said. National Cancer Institute and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, February 2013