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Eur Urol. 2006 Sep;50(3):549-54. Epub 2005 Dec 28.

Intake of selected micronutrients and the risk of surgically treated benign prostatic hyperplasia: a case-control study from Italy.

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Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche "Mario Negri", Milan, Italy.



To analyze the relationship between surgically treated benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and intake of selected micronutrients.


A multicentric case-control study was conducted in Italy between 1991 and 2002. Cases were 1369 men with histologically confirmed, surgically treated BPH and controls were 1451 men younger than 75 yr, frequency matched by quinquennium of age and study center, admitted to the hospital for acute nonneoplastic diseases. Information was collected by trained interviewers using a structured validated food-frequency questionnaire. The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by unconditional multiple logistic regression models.


The risk of BPH significantly decreased with increasing intake of carotene (OR=0.80 for an increment equal to the difference between the 80th and 20th percentile of intake), alpha-carotene (OR=0.83), beta-carotene (OR=0.82), and cis beta-carotene (OR=0.82) and tended to decrease with the intake of vitamin C (OR=0.89) and iron (OR=0.79). The OR tended to increase with the intake of sodium (OR=1.30) and zinc (OR=1.10). No systematic heterogeneity was observed across strata of age, education, and body mass index. No meaningful associations emerged for other antioxidants, such as folic acid, lycopene, lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin E, vitamin D, nor for retinol.


Our results suggest a protective effect of carotene on the risk of BPH. The risk tended to decrease also with the intake of vitamin C and iron and tended to increase with the intake of sodium and zinc. Results also indicate that other antioxidants, including folic acid, lycopene, lutein/zeaxanthin, and vitamins D and E, and retinol were not related to the risk for this disease.

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