The risk of prostate cancer is higher in men with raised levels of a cell-growth hormone linked to meat and dairy products, according to research.
An association between insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and the disease has been found by Cancer Research UK scientists at Oxford University.
The link between IGF-1 and prostate cancer has been suspected before, and by combining results from 12 separate blood sample studies the research has identified the trend more clearly.
Study leader Dr Andrew Roddam said: "What we found was a modest association at best, but it was statistically significant. A lot of the individual studies found the same trend but were too underpowered for their results to be reliable."
IGF-1 is a protein hormone that spurs on cell division and is important for the growth and development of young children and adolescents. In adults it continues to regulate cell growth and death, and normal levels are necessary for good health.
But it also inhibits programmed cell death, one of the main ways the body rids itself of potentially dangerous damaged cells. Without this, cells with faulty DNA may trigger cancer.
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