Acrylamide in food not linked to prostate cancer

Acrylamide exposure from dietary intake shows no significant association with the risk of prostate cancer, US and Swedish researchers report.

As Dr. Kathryn M. Wilson told Reuters Health, “At levels found in the diet, it seems unlikely that acrylamide is related to prostate cancer risk.”

Acrylamide is found in some starchy foods cooked at high temperatures. Animal studies have indicated acrylamide may cause cancer, and in 2005 the World Health Organization called for lower levels of acrylamide in food. However, studies of any link to human cancers have produced variable results.

Wilson, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and her colleagues point out in the International Journal of Cancer that foods containing detectable levels of acrylamide account for about 30 percent of the calories in the human diet.

To determine if acrylamide exposure influences prostate cancer risk, the researchers examined data from a population-based study involving almost 1500 men with prostate cancer and more than 1100 unaffected “controls” for whom dietary intake information was available.

They found no significant correlation between the amount of acrylamide consumed in the diet and prostate cancer risk.

Furthermore, there was also no connection between prostate cancer and levels of acrylamide bound to hemoglobin in blood samples taken from a sampling of the participants.

“The fact that we found no suggestion of increased prostate cancer risk for either acrylamide measurement is reassuring,” Wilson commented.

These findings, the researchers point out, are in keeping with “risk estimates based on toxicological studies. Such studies suggest very small increases in cancer risks for the levels of acrylamide taken in the diet.”

SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, May 15, 2009.

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