Chondroitin: Is it linked to prostate cancer?

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Chondroitin: Is it linked to prostate cancer?

Question

Someone told my husband that he shouldn't take chondroitin supplements because they can cause prostate cancer. Is this true?

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Answer

There's no evidence that chondroitin or chondroitin supplements cause prostate cancer. Chondroitin sulfate is a substance found naturally in your body. Researchers believe that it may help repair and maintain cartilage.

Some preliminary research has found higher concentrations of chondroitin in cancerous prostate tissue than in normal prostate tissue. This research also suggests that higher concentrations in the tissue surrounding the prostate tumor may predict a more aggressive cancer. However, the study didn't identify the source of the chondroitin in the tumors. Simply because a substance is present in or around cancerous tissue doesn't by itself suggest that the substance is causing the cancer.

Further research is needed to identify any potential relationship between prostate cancer and chondroitin. If you're at increased risk of prostate cancer, it's reasonable to not take chondroitin supplements. If you take chondroitin for arthritis pain and are at high risk of prostate cancer, discuss alternative arthritis treatments with your doctor.

Last Updated: 01/28/2005
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