Greater consumption of a plant-based diet, especially one that consists of a high intake of healthful plant-based foods, may be associated with a reduced risk for aggressive prostate cancer, according to data presented at the AUA2021 Virtual Experience.

In a study of 47,239 men in the prospective Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2014) cohort, those in the highest quintile of overall plant-based food consumption had a significant 19% decreased risk of dying from prostate cancer and a nonsignificant 22% and 17% decreased risk for advanced and lethal prostate cancer, respectively, compared with those in the lowest quintile, Stacy Loeb, MD, of NYU Langone Health in New York, New York, and colleagues reported.

The authors defined advanced prostate cancer as stage T3b/T4/N1/M1 disease at diagnosis and lethal prostate cancer as metastatic disease or death from prostate cancer.

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Among men younger than 65 years, men in the highest quintile of healthful plant-based consumption had a statistically significant reduction by more than one-third in the risk of advanced prostate cancer, lethal prostate cancer, and death from prostate cancer compared with those in the lowest quintile, Dr Loeb’s team reported. The investigators found no association between healthful plant-based diets and prostate cancer among men aged 65 years or older.

“Plant-based diets have many well-documented benefits for health and the environment,” Dr Loeb said in an interview. “Our results show that consuming more plant-based foods is also prostate-healthy. Men at risk for prostate cancer should be counseled to increase consumption of plant-based foods to reduce the risk of aggressive disease.”

Of the 47,239 men in the study, 6655 were diagnosed with prostate cancer, including 515 with an advanced stage at diagnosis, 956 with lethal prostate cancer, and 806 who died from prostate cancer. Dr Loeb’s team calculated overall and healthful plant-based dietary indices from food frequency questionnaires completed by study participants.

Healthful plant-based foods included whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, vegetable oils, tea, and coffee. Unhealthful plant-based foods included fruit juices, potatoes, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages.

In addition to Dr Loeb, the team of investigators included Benjamin C. Fu, PhD, MPH, Scott R. Bauer, MD, MS, Clair H. Pernar, ScD, MPH, June M. Chan, ScD, Erin L. Van Blarigan, ScD, Edward L. Giovannucci, MD, ScD, Stacey A. Kenfield, ScD, and Lorelei A. Mucci, ScD, MPH.


Loeb S, Fu BC, Bauer SR, Pernar CH, et al. Association of plant-based dietary patterns with prostate cancer risk. Presented at: AUA2021 Virtual Experience held September 10-13, 2021. Poster MP32-06.