METHODS: The case-control portion of the study was conducted in nine UK centers with men ages 50-69 years who underwent prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer within the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial. Two data sources were used to appraise causality: a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of metabolites in 24,925 participants and a GWAS of prostate cancer in 44,825 cases and 27,904 controls within the Association Group to Investigate Cancer Associated Alterations in the Genome (PRACTICAL) consortium.
RESULTS: Thirty-five metabolites were strongly associated with prostate cancer (P < 0.0014, multiple-testing threshold). These fell into four classes: (i) lipids and lipoprotein subclass characteristics (total cholesterol and ratios, cholesterol esters and ratios, free cholesterol and ratios, phospholipids and ratios, and triglyceride ratios); (ii) fatty acids and ratios; (iii) amino acids; (iv) and fluid balance. Fourteen top metabolites were proxied by genetic variables, but MR indicated these were not causal.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified 35 circulating metabolites associated with prostate cancer presence, but found no evidence of causality for those 14 testable with MR. Thus, the 14 MR-tested metabolites are unlikely to be mechanistically important in prostate cancer risk.
IMPACT: The metabolome provides a promising set of biomarkers that may aid prostate cancer classification.