Research from the University of Southern California (USC) and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) have found that cooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer by as much as 40%.
Mariana Stern, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, led analyses for the study in the journal Carcinogenesis, which provides new evidence on how red meat and its cooking practices may increase the risk for prostate cancer.
Previous studies have emphasised an association between diets high in red meat and risk of prostate cancer, but evidence was limited. Focusing attention on the cooking methods of red meat, however, shows the risk of prostate cancer may be a result of potent chemical carcinogens formed when meats are cooked at high temperatures.
Stern said: “We found that men who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week increased their risk of advanced prostate cancer by 30%.
"In addition, men who ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked at high temperatures were 40% more likely to have advanced prostate cancer.”
When considering specific types of red meats, hamburgers - but not steak - were linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, especially among Hispanic men.
“We speculate that these findings are a result of different levels of carcinogen accumulation found in hamburgers, given that they can attain higher internal and external temperatures faster than steak,” Stern added.
Researchers also found that men with diets high in baked poultry had a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer, while consumption of pan-fried poultry was associated with increased risk. Stern noted that pan-frying, regardless of meat type, consistently led to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
The same pattern was evident in Stern’s previous research, which found that fish cooked at high temperatures, particularly pan-fried, increased the risk of prostate cancer.