Men in the study who ate more than 1.5 servings of pan-fried red meat per week were 30 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer than were men who rarely ate pan-fried red meat. And men who every week ate more than 2.5 servings of red meat cooked by any high-temperature method — including broiling and grilling — were 40 percent more likely to have advanced prostate cancer than were men who rarely did so.
The reason why red meat cooked at high temperatures may increase the risk of advanced prostate cancer is that such meat contains compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Both have been shown to cause cancer in animals, Stern said, noting that both are also found in cigarette smoke.
PAHs form when fat is cooked at high temperatures. For example, when meats are grilled, fat drips in the flames, and the rising smoke deposits PAHs on the meat. HCAs form when sugars and other molecules in the meat are heated. With higher temperatures and longer cooking times, more HCAs form.