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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina Study Examines Link between Calcium, Magnesium, and Whole-milk Intake with Prostate Cancer

Working with researchers from the University of Arkansas, University of Pittsburgh, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Memphis, Louisiana State University, and the University of North Carolina, associate professor of epidemiology Dr. Susan Steck (University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health) recently led a study on the connection between calcium, magnesium, and whole-milk intakes and high-aggressive prostate cancer. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and is being honored by the Research Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with a “First Author Award,” announced at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo annual meeting on October 22.

Previous research has already shown an association between calcium and dairy product intakes with an increased risk of prostate cancer. However, few studies have examined the relationship between these elements and racial disparities in prostate cancer aggressiveness. The present study examined the link between dietary intakes of calcium and magnesium, the calcium-to-magnesium ratio, and dairy products and prostate cancer aggressiveness in a racially diverse population.

The researchers assessed the dietary intake of 996 African-American and 1,064 European-American men with a recent histologically confirmed diagnosis of prostate cancer from the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project (PCaP). They defined high-aggressive disease based on Gleason sum, prostate-specific antigen, and clinical stage, comparing these individuals to men diagnosed with less aggressive forms of prostate cancer.

Dr. Steck and her team found a positive association across tertiles of dietary calcium-to-magnesium intake. When stratified by race, the positive association was more pronounced in African-American men. Further, men who reported the highest daily consumption of whole-fat milk had a 74 percent increased odds of high-aggressive prostate cancer compared with non-whole-fat milk drinkers.

The researchers concluded that among men diagnosed with prostate cancer, those with a higher calcium-to-magnesium and whole-milk intake were more likely to have high-aggressive prostate cancer. This finding was consistent among both African American and European American men.

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