Poultry Meat, Eggs May Increase Cancer Progression

US - Eating eggs and poultry meat with the skin on increases the risk of progression of prostate cancer, according to researchers at Harvard School of Public Health.
calendar icon 11 January 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

Consuming a relatively large amount of eggs and poultry with the skin left on may increase prostate cancer patients’ chances of experiencing a relapse, study findings indicate.

Medwire reports that US researchers found whereas whole eggs and skin-on poultry were associated with an increased risk for disease progression, processed and unprocessed red meat, fish, and skinless poultry were not associated with a risk for progression.

The researchers, led by Erin Richman, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, say they anticipated the opposite result, as the high saturated fat content of processed and cured meats is associated with 'increased risk of advanced or metastatic prostate cancer'.

The cohort included 1,294 men with biopsy-proven prostate cancer, who were all participants in the 'Diet and Lifestyle' sub-study of the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor study.

The researchers recorded 127 prostate cancer progression events over 2,610 person-years of data.

Initiation of secondary treatment accounted for 57 per cent of events, biochemical recurrence accounted for 39 per cent and metastasis to bone and death from prostate cancer each accounted for two per cent of cancer progression events.

Participants completed a food-frequency questionnaire every six months – charting their intake of five food groups including meat, fish and eggs – for an average two-year follow-up period from diagnosis.

Analysis showed a non-significant increase in risk for disease progression among men in the highest quartile of poultry intake (5.5 versus 1.0 servings of 113 to 170g per week), which the researchers investigated further by analysing skin-on and skinless poultry separately.

After adjusting results for sociodemographic and clinical factors, men in the highest tertile of skin-on poultry consumption had more than double the risk for disease progression than men in the lowest tertile (three versus no 113–170g servings per week).

In contrast, consumption of skinless poultry was not associated with risk for prostate cancer progression.

The researchers suggest that the association may relate to the cooking process used, as poultry with skin is commonly broiled or grilled, resulting in high levels of heterocyclic amines, which have been shown to covalently bind and damage human prostate DNA, and induce prostate cancer in rats.

Finally, men in the highest quartile of egg intake (5.5 eggs per week) had twice the risk for prostate cancer progression compared with men who ate less than one egg per week, according to MedWire.

"Our results support the hypothesis that diet may influence the progression of prostate cancer among men with localized disease," the team writes in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Because the five-year survival of men with advanced prostate cancer is only 35 per cent, it is important to identify modifiable factors that may prevent either the occurrence of advanced prostate cancer or its progression," conclude Richman et al.


Richman E.L., M.J. Stampfer, A. Paciorek, J.M. Broering, P.R. Carroll and J.M. Chan. 2009. Intakes of meat, fish, poultry, and eggs and risk of prostate cancer progression. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (30 December 2009). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28474

Further Reading

- You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.