Lifestyle factors that vary by geographic region, including diet, smoking and medication use, may influence prostate inflammation which, in turn, could affect prostate cancer risk. Identifying mechanisms contributing to geographic variation in prostate cancer incidence rates will improve our understanding of risk factors for prostate cancer and could inform prevention efforts.
Our results from the multinational REDUCE prostate cancer chemoprevention trial demonstrate, for the first time, that there are pronounced geographic differences in the prevalence of histologic inflammation in benign prostate tissue. We observed that regions of the world with higher rates of benign prostate inflammation had lower rates of prostate cancer diagnosis on subsequent biopsy.
Our ongoing research is focused on optimizing molecular assays to distinguish pro-tumor from anti-tumor inflammation, in order to improve our understanding of the relationship between inflammation and prostate cancer. However, our current findings may point to inflammation as a potential modifiable mechanism linking lifestyle/environmental factors and prostate cancer.
Written by: Emma Helen Allott, PhD, Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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