How diet stimulates or blocks prostate cancer

A high intake of saturated fats, found mainly in foods of animal origin, stimulates the progression of prostate cancer cells.

It is already known that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (especially monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats) decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature mortality. This protection is due to the opposite effect of the two types of dietary fats on LDL-cholesterol levels. This is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. While saturated fats increase the amount of LDL-cholesterol in the blood, unsaturated fats decrease the levels of this form of cholesterol.

Saturated fat: high cholesterol and cancer

The majority of saturated fats come from foods of animal origin: meat, eggs, dairy products. While unsaturated fats are mainly found in vegetables: vegetable oils, nuts, certain cereals. One simple way to achieve a good balance between saturated and unsaturated fat intake is to increase the dietary intake of vegetables and at the same time reduce the consumption of animal products.

The negative health effects of saturated fats are not limited to high LDL cholesterol levels. Several studies have shown that these things also have a pro-inflammatory effect. It contributes to the development of certain serious pathologies such as insulin resistance or the progression of certain cancers in the form of metastases.

Stimulates or blocks the progression of prostate cancer

The link between saturated fats and cancer progression is also suggested by a recent study. Using a model of mice expressing the MYC oncogene and genetically predisposed to developing prostate cancer, these researchers observed that a diet rich in saturated fat was associated with major changes in prostate cell metabolism. Which led to the activation of several genes involved in tumor growth. Animals fed saturated fat had larger tumors than those fed a normal diet. Strong suggestion that these active fats through saturated fats contribute to the progression of prostate cancer.

It is interesting to note that this activation is reversible. Because a reduction in saturated fat intake cancels out the increase in gene expression and abolishes the progression of tumors. A very important point of the study is that this genetic signature, associated with a high intake of saturated fat, is also observed in patients with prostate cancer. The researchers used data on saturated fat intake from epidemiological studies (Healthcare Tracking Study and Physicians’ Health Study). They noted that patients with prostate cancer who had the highest gene activation in their cancer were four times more likely to die from their disease.

However, this increase is not observed for unsaturated fatty acids (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). This confirms that it is the genetic activation induced by saturated fats that is responsible for tumor progression.

At 40, 1/3 of men already have a micro-tumor in their prostate

Decreased dietary intake of saturated fat could slow the progression of prostate cancer. But it also reduces the risk of mortality associated with advanced forms of the disease. This is an important discovery. Because by the age of 40, one-third of men already have microscopic prostate tumors. They are therefore at very high risk of developing cancer of this organ in the following decades.

Favor unsaturated fats of vegetable origin while limiting those of animal origin. This could therefore allow these prostate microtumors to remain dormant. This diet is a promising way to reduce the high incidence of prostate cancer. With the best cardiovascular health!


Borén J et al. Low-density lipoproteins cause atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: pathophysiological, genetic and therapeutic perspectives: a consensus statement from the Consensus Group of the European Atherosclerosis Society. EURO. Heart J.February 2020.

Labbé DP et al. A high-fat diet fuels the progression of prostate cancer by re-establishing the metabolome and amplifying the MYC program. Nat. common. 2019; 10: 4358

* Press the effort to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given cannot replace the opinion of a health professional.

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