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Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Dec 1;166(11):1270-9. Epub 2007 Oct 12.

Calcium, dairy foods, and risk of incident and fatal prostate cancer: the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.

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  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA. parkyik@mail.nih.gov


Calcium and dairy foods in relation to prostate cancer were examined in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) Diet and Health Study (1995/1996-2001). Diet was assessed with a food frequency questionnaire at baseline. Multivariate relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by Cox regression. During up to 6 years of follow-up (n = 293,888), the authors identified 10,180 total prostate cancer cases (8,754 nonadvanced, 1,426 advanced, and 178 fatal cases). Total and supplemental calcium were unrelated to total and nonadvanced prostate cancer. However, a statistically nonsignificant positive association with total calcium was observed for advanced (> or = 2,000 vs. 500-<750 mg/day: relative risk (RR) = 1.25, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.91, 1.71; p(trend) = 0.06) and fatal (> or = 1,000 vs. 500-<750 mg/day: RR = 1.39, 95% CI: 0.92, 2.09; p(trend) = 0.10) prostate cancer. Skim milk, but not other dairy foods, was associated with increased risk of advanced prostate cancer (> or = 2 vs. zero servings/day: RR = 1.23, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.54; p(trend) = 0.01). In contrast, calcium from nondairy foods was associated with lower risk of nonadvanced prostate cancer (> or = 600 vs. < 250 mg/day: RR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.68, 0.99; p(trend) = 0.04). Although the authors cannot definitively rule out a weak association for aggressive prostate cancer, their findings do not provide strong support for the hypothesis that calcium and dairy foods increase prostate cancer risk.

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