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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Mar;21(3):428-36. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-11-1004. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Milk and dairy consumption among men with prostate cancer and risk of metastases and prostate cancer death.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. apetter s@hsph.harvard.edu



Whether milk and dairy intake after a prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with a poorer prognosis is unknown. We investigated postdiagnostic milk and dairy intake in relation to risk of lethal prostate cancer (metastases and prostate cancer death) among participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.


The cohort consisted of 3,918 men diagnosed with apparently localized prostate cancer between 1986 and 2006, and followed to 2008. Data on milk and dairy intake were available from repeated questionnaires. We used Cox proportional hazards models to calculate HRs and 95% CIs of the association between postdiagnostic milk and dairy intake and prostate cancer outcomes.


We ascertained 229 prostate cancer deaths and an additional 69 metastases during follow-up. In multivariate analysis, total milk and dairy intakes after diagnosis were not associated with a greater risk of lethal prostate cancer. Men with the highest versus lowest intake of whole milk were at an increased risk of progression (HR = 2.15, 95% CI: 1.28-3.60; P(trend) < 0.01). Men in the highest versus lowest quintile of low-fat dairy intake were at a decreased risk of progression (HR = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.40-0.95; P(trend) = 0.07).


With the exception of whole milk, our results suggest that milk and dairy intake after a prostate cancer diagnosis is not associated with an increased risk of lethal prostate cancer.


This is the first larger prospective study investigating the relation between postdiagnostic milk and dairy intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer.

©2012 AACR.

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