The role of fatty acids (FA) in prostate carcinogenesis is unclear. Interest in the inter-relationship among different types of FA has resulted in new analytic approaches to FA and their role in cancer development.

We evaluated the association between erythrocyte FA and prostate cancer in 127 prostate cancer patients and 183 screen negative controls.

We present three approaches to the analyses of the FA and prostate cancer association;
(1) individual or common groups of FA,
(2) biologically meaningful FA ratios and
(3) principal components analysis.

Monounsaturated FA and the alpha-linolenic:eicosapentaenoic ratio were associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer. However, Factor 1, which was strongly correlated with some long chain saturated FA, was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

We provide an example of modeling FA and their inter-relationships on the risk of prostate cancer. Comparing three approaches suggests the importance of considering the impact of the entire fatty acid profile in disease prevention.