Dietary fibre has previously been reported to protect from several cancers and some studies have linked fruit and vegetable consumption to reduced prostate cancer, but the evidence is inconclusive. Previous studies have not examined the impact of different types of fibres on prostate cancer, notes the study, published in the 20 March issue of the International Journal of Cancer (vol 109, issue 2, pp 278 - 280).
A team from the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, Italy carried out a multicentre case-control study from 1991 to 2002 on more than 1,745 men, aged 46-74, being treated in hospital. Those with prostate cancer (almost 1300) were asked about their eating habits during the two years before being diagnosed.
They found that total fibre intake only slightly reduced prostate cancer risk. However when the study examined soluble fibre only, the reduced risk was greater at 11 per cent, while vegetable fibre cut risk by 18 per cent.
These relationships were consistent across strata of age, family history of prostate cancer, body mass index and education, said the researchers.
"Vegetable fibres appear, therefore, to have a favourable association with prostate cancer risk," conclude the authors.