Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

microscope image of prostate cancer cell.

In the biggest investigation of metabolite profile and prostate cancer risk yet, CEU researchers have found metabolite patterns associated with lower risk of more aggressive tumour subtypes and prostate cancer death.

Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men worldwide, but few risk factors have been established. Metabolomics measures large numbers of small molecules in body fluids which reflect internal (e.g. the genome) and external (e.g. diet) factors that may help identify risk factors for prostate cancer.

Using data from 3057 matched case-control sets from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) researchers measured 119 metabolite concentrations in plasma samples collected from men with an average age of 58. Cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed on average 9.4 years later and there were no marked differences between baseline characteristics of those men diagnosed with prostate cancer and those in the control group.

In a paper published in the International Journal of Cancer, the authors outline how they used the statistical method ‘treelet transform’ to identify groups of correlated metabolites then estimated the association of metabolite patterns with prostate cancer risk using conditional logistical regression.

The results showed that men with metabolite profiles characterised by higher concentrations of either phosphatidylcholines and hydroxysphingomyelins, acylcarnitines C18:1 and C18:2, glutamate, ornithine and taurine, or lysophosphatidylcholines had a lower risk of advanced stage and aggressive prostate cancer at diagnosis, with no heterogeneity by length of follow-up, and of prostate cancer death.

Lead author, Julie Schmidt, said “We concluded that metabolite patterns may be related to lower risk of more aggressive prostate tumours and prostate cancer death, and might be relevant to aetiology of advanced stage prostate cancer.”