Tag Archives: obesity

Cow’s milk – not your father’s drink of choice?

When I was a kid, my father, having grown up on a farm, was obsessed with having me drink lots of milk. There was a milk delivery service in Chadron, NE, that brought rich, fresh, whole milk to our door, and I recall drinking at least a gallon a week – sometimes twice that. I was told it would “build strong bones and healthy teeth”, especially during my pubertal years, when there is of course a growth spurt that does indeed require more calcium and good nutrition. (Hence the increased height of American children over the past century…)

But there is a dark side to this story. In an article in Medscape today, there is a lovely review of another pathway that stimulates prostate cancer, namely one that involves the PI3K-Akt-mTORC1 pathway. It is way beyond this blog to try and go into this pathway in any detail, but suffice it to say that the authors present a powerful (albeit very long) argument that leucine, a branched chain amino acid found in high concentration in cow’s milk stimulates this pathway and can lead to prostate cancer growth and metastases. I will reproduce here (and without permission….I wonder if that is needed in the blog world…) a couple of the figures that illustrate the point. (note I am not plagiarizing since I give you the link to the original article containing these figures)

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 12.37.20 PM


This figure illustrates how leucine interacts with the signaling pathways that might lead to prostate cancer or stimulate its growth.

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 12.37.55 PMThis figure demonstrates the increased consumption of milk products like cheese and milk that have occurred over time in western countries.

The bottom line here is that milk and cheese have a dark side and we should probably curtail our intake, especially in families who have high prostate cancer rates. It would be nice to go into all 250+ articles the authors cite, but trust me, their arguments are very well founded. Too bad, since I love cheese so much !



Filed under General Prostate Cancer Issues

Get off the couch !

I was reminded by a reader who writes various blogs including about fitness in cancer patients, that there are some real data in this regard. I had archived this article from Urology Times and meant to share it with you. In the report from the AUA meeting, Duke University investigators found that among men receiving “early ADT” (presumably those with high risk or PSA’s that didn’t nadir properly) after surgery, obesity was a huge risk factor for developing metastases.

Using Cox proportional hazards models, the authors found men who were overweight or obese had a three-fold higher risk for progression to castration-resistant prostate cancer compared to their counterparts with a normal BMI. Relative to the normal BMI reference group, risk for developing metastasis was increased by more than three-fold among overweight men and by five-fold among the obese men, reported first author Christopher Keto, MD, of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. All of these differences were statistically significant, and the data also showed a trend for increased prostate cancer-specific mortality among obese men compared with the reference group.

These statistical findings are quite striking and are consistent with many other articles regarding higher Gleason scores and lower survival among men with obesity who develop prostate cancer. I am well aware from personal experience how hard it is to lose weight. But with the added incentive of fighting prostate cancer, I hope I would be successful. At the very least, this makes as much sense as loading yourself with pomegranate juice or any of the other supplements you are taking.

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Filed under General Prostate Cancer Issues