Men with prostate cancer who consume the most plant-based foods have lower risks of disease progression and recurrence, investigators reported at American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) 2023 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, California.

“We’ve known that diets that include vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains are associated with numerous health benefits, including a reduction in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and overall mortality. We can now add benefits in reducing prostate cancer progression to that list,” lead author Vivian Liu, Clinical Research Coordinator at Osher Center for Integrative Health, University of California, San Francisco, stated in an ASCO news release.

The findings are from an analysis of food frequency questionnaires including 140 different foods and beverages as well as lifestyle questionnaires from 2038 men diagnosed with stage T1-T3a prostate cancer in the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) Diet and Lifestyle substudy. For each individual, the investigators assigned positive scores for consumption of plant-based foods and negative scores for animal food groups. They then grouped the men into quintiles of plant-based food consumption for both the overall plant-based dietary index (PDI) and a healthy plant-based dietary index (hPDI).

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Of the 2038 patients, 204 (10%) experienced prostate cancer progression over a median 7.4 years, including 169 who had biochemical recurrence. Men in the highest vs lowest quintile of PDI had a significant 52% lower risk of progression and a 53% lower risk of recurrence, Liu reported. Men older than 65 years who had high vs low scores on the PDI had a significant 59% lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence. Among men who walked briskly for more than 3 hours per week, those in the highest vs lowest PDI quintile had a significant 67% lower risk of progression and a 59% lower risk of recurrence.

The hPDI was not associated with progression or recurrence, except at the higher quintiles of plant consumption. The hPDI favors high adherence to healthy produce and legumes and low adherence to unhealthy plant-based foods, such as refined grains, sugar, and processed foods.

The investigators adjusted results for relevant confounders, such as prostate cancer grade and stage at diagnosis, primary treatment, age, race, walking pace, supplement use, calorie intake, income, insurance status, and smoking.

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Liu V. Associations between plant-based diets and risk of disease progression in men with prostate cancer. ASCO GU 2023, San Francisco, California, February 16-18, 2023. Abstract 392.

Diet higher in plants associated with lower risk of prostate cancer progression and recurrence. ASCO; February 13, 2023.