Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Disturbed folate metabolism is associated with an increased risk of some cancers. Our objective was to determine whether blood levels of folate, vitamin B(12), and related metabolites were associated with prostate cancer risk. METHODS: Matched case-control study nested within the U.K. population-based Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study of prostate-specific antigen-detected prostate cancer in men ages 50 to 69 years. Plasma concentrations of folate, B(12) (cobalamin), holo-haptocorrin, holo-transcobalamin total transcobalamin, and total homocysteine (tHcy) were measured in 1,461 cases and 1,507 controls. ProtecT study estimates for associations of folate, B(12), and tHcy with prostate cancer risk were included in a meta-analysis, based on a systematic review. RESULTS: In the ProtecT study, increased B(12) and holo-haptocorrin concentrations showed positive associations with prostate cancer risk [highest versus lowest quartile of B(12) odds ratio (OR) = 1.17 (95% confidence interval, 0.95-1.43); P(trend) = 0.06; highest versus lowest quartile of holo-haptocorrin OR = 1.27 (1.04-1.56); P(trend) = 0.01]; folate, holo-transcobalamin, and tHcy were not associated with prostate cancer risk. In the meta-analysis, circulating B(12) levels were associated with an increased prostate cancer risk [pooled OR = 1.10 (1.01-1.19) per 100 pmol/L increase in B(12); P = 0.002]; the pooled OR for the association of folate with prostate cancer was positive [OR = 1.11 (0.96-1.28) per 10 nmol/L; P = 0.2) and conventionally statistically significant if ProtecT (the only case-control study) was excluded [OR = 1.18 (1.00-1.40) per 10 nmol/L; P = 0.02]. CONCLUSION: Vitamin B(12) and (in cohort studies) folate were associated with increased prostate cancer risk. IMPACT: Given current controversies over mandatory fortification, further research is needed to determine whether these are causal associations.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer epidemiol biomarkers prev

Publication Date





1632 - 1642


Aged, Case-Control Studies, Folic Acid, Homocysteine, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prostatic Neoplasms, Risk Factors, Transcobalamins, Vitamin B 12