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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999 Mar 17;91(6):512-23.

Energy intake and prostate tumor growth, angiogenesis, and vascular endothelial growth factor expression.

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Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



A sedentary lifestyle coupled with excessive energy intake is speculated to be a factor associated with increased incidence of prostate cancer. We have investigated the effects of energy intake on prostate tumor growth in experimental animals.


Two transplantable prostate tumor models, i.e., the androgen-dependent Dunning R3327-H adenocarcinoma in rats and the androgen-sensitive LNCaP human carcinoma in severe combined immunodeficient mice, were studied. R3327-H tumor growth and relevant tumor biomarkers (proliferation index, apoptosis [programmed cell death], microvessel density, and vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF] expression) were compared in ad libitum fed control rats, ad libitum fed castrated rats, and groups restricted in energy intake by 20% or 40%. A second set of experiments involving both tumor models examined tumor growth in ad libitum fed rats or in animals whose energy intake was restricted by 30% using three different methods, i.e., total diet restriction, carbohydrate restriction, or lipid restriction. All P values are two-sided.


R3327-H tumors were smaller in energy-restricted or castrated rats than in control rats (P<.001). Tumors from energy-restricted rats exhibited changes in tumor architecture characterized by increased stroma and more homogeneous and smaller glands. In castrated rats, the tumor proliferation index was reduced (P<.0001), whereas apoptosis was increased in both energy-restricted (P<.001) and castrated (P<.001) rats. Tumor microvessel density and VEGF expression were reduced by energy restriction and castration (P<.003 versus control). Restriction of energy intake by reduction of carbohydrate intake, lipid intake, or total diet produced a similar inhibition of growth of R3327-H or LNCaP tumors. These effects were associated with reduced circulating insulin-like growth factor-I.


Our observations are consistent with the hypothesis that energy restriction reduces prostate tumor growth by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis. Furthermore, dietary fat concentration does not influence prostate tumor growth when energy intake is reduced.

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