The role of nutrition in preventing prostate cancer: A review of the proposed mechanism of action of various dietary substances

Monte S. Willis, Frank H. Wians

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

108 Scopus citations


Background: Dietary modifications to prevent prostate cancer (PCa) continue to gain attention as research demonstrates that various dietary nutrients/supplements are related to decreased risk of developing prostate cancer (PCa). Several studies have focused on the antioxidant and nonantioxidant effects of various dietary substances in the prevention of PCa. Research into the mechanisms by which PCa is prevented, or its disease severity is reduced by dietary micronutrients and vitamins continues to enrich our understanding of the mechanisms by which PCa is initiated and progresses. Methods: We reviewed the literature on dietary nutrients with antioxidant properties that have been shown to have a positive effect in reducing the incidence or preventing the occurrence of PCa including carotenoids (e.g., lycopene), retinoids (e.g., vitamin A), vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, and polyphenols. Other nutrients examined included vitamin D and calcium. Results: Many dietary micronutrients have demonstrated significant and complex effects on PCa cell proliferation, differentiation, and signaling related to the initiation, progression, and regression of PCa. Conclusion: Understanding the mechanisms by which various dietary nutrients exert their effects on PCa may make it possible to design effective drugs for treating PCa and to promote better nutrition and lifestyle changes in those at risk for PCa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-83
Number of pages27
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2003



  • Dietary micronutrients
  • Nutrition
  • Prevention
  • Prostate cancer
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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