Total dietary consumption of fresh fruit — and citrus fruit consumption in particular — is associated with a modestly lower risk of developing prostate cancer among European men, according to an analysis published in the International Journal of Cancer.1

Self-reported vegetable consumption was not associated with cancer risk and neither fruits nor vegetables were associated with prostate cancer mortality.

“The main finding of this prospective study was that a higher fruit intake was associated with a small reduction in prostate cancer risk,” reported the study’s authors. “Compared with the lowest fifth, those in the highest fifth of total fruit intake had a significantly reduced prostate cancer risk.”

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There was also a trend observed between citrus (oranges and lemons) consumption and prostate cancer risk (hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% CI: 0.86-1.02; Ptrend = 0.01).

The causal nature of the association “remains unclear,” the authors cautioned. No associations with prostate cancer incidence were noted for apples, pears, or bananas. Prostate cancer mortality was not associated with fruit or vegetable intake.

At a mean follow-up of 13.9 years, 7036 of 142,239 men from 8 European countries who were enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

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“We found no evidence of heterogeneity in these associations by tumor grade and stage, with the exception of significant heterogeneity by tumor grade…for leafy vegetables,” the authors noted. 


  1. Perez-Cornago A, Travis RC, Appleby PN, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and prostate cancer risk in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition (EPIC). Int J Cancer. 2017 Apr 17. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30741 [Epub ahead of print]