Based on expert opinion, epidemiological studies, and small preclinical experiments, clinical guidelines for prostate cancer endorse the consumption of diets high in micronutrient-enriched vegetables, stating that it may decrease cancer progression and death. However, a study published in JAMA suggests that increasing vegetable consumption in men with early-stage prostate cancer may not impact the rate of cancer progression.

The researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial—the Men’s Eating and Living (MEAL) Study—at 91 U.S. urology and medical oncology clinics that enrolled men aged 50–80 with biopsy-proven prostate adenocarcinoma. From 2011 to 2015, 478 participants were randomized—237 to the intervention group and 241 to the control group. Patients in the intervention group were given behavioral intervention counseling by telephone promoting consumption of seven or more vegetable servings daily. The control group received written information about diet and prostate cancer.

The researchers found that during a 24-month follow-up (between January 2013 and August 2017) there were 245 progression events—124 in the intervention group and 121 in the control group. There were no significant differences in time to progression. Despite a sustained increase in carotenoid, cruciferous-rich, and leafy green vegetable intake for two years by the patients in the intervention group, the risk of clinical progression in patients with early-stage prostate cancer was not significantly reduced compared with control.

“These data fail to support prevailing assertions in evidence-based clinical guidelines and the popular media that diets high in micronutrient-enriched vegetables improve cancer-specific outcomes among prostate cancer survivors,” concluded the authors.


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