Metabolite patterns in the blood are indicative of prostate cancer risk, according to new research published in the journal BioMed Central.
The blood ‘fingerprints’ have been discovered by scientists developing a new area of research called metabolomics, which measures small molecules in the blood called metabolites.
It was found that levels of different metabolites that make up an individual’s metabolic ‘fingerprint’ in the blood were associated with their risk of developing prostate cancer.
The levels of different metabolites present in someone’s blood are partly determined by diet and lifestyle. The ‘fingerprint’ of metabolites in the blood could therefore provide new insights into how diet and lifestyle can affect prostate cancer risk.
The study also found that the metabolite patterns linked to prostate cancer risk were different for aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancer. This could provide further clues on how and why diet and lifestyle affect the risk of different types of prostate cancer. It is also possible that in the future these metabolites could be looked for in blood tests to detect prostate cancer early.
Dr. Ruth Travis, the study’s lead author, said: ‘This new field of research is a complete game-changer as it has the potential to uncover many more clues on what we can do to help prevent prostate cancer through diet and lifestyle.’
‘The next stages of this project will give us a greater understanding than ever before on how diet can affect prostate cancer risk and could reveal previously unknown dietary risk factors for this disease.’
‘We already know that maintaining a healthy weight is important for helping prevent aggressive types of prostate cancer. If more risk factors for prostate cancer are uncovered, we could prevent many more cases, particularly the more aggressive types.’