OBJECTIVE: Based on evidence that phytoestrogens may protect against prostate cancer, we evaluated the associations between serum enterolactone concentration or dietary phytoestrogen intake and risk of prostate cancer. METHODS: In our Swedish population-based case-control study, questionnaire-data were available for 1,499 prostate cancer cases and 1,130 controls, with serum enterolactone levels in a sub-group of 209 cases and 214 controls. Unconditional logistic regression was performed to estimate multivariate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations with risk of prostate cancer. RESULTS: High intake of food items rich in phytoestrogens was associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. The OR comparing the highest to the lowest quartile of intake was 0.74 (95% CI: 0.57-0.95; p-value for trend: 0.01). In contrast, we found no association between dietary intake of total or individual lignans or isoflavonoids and risk of prostate cancer. Intermediate serum levels of enterolactone were associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. The ORs comparing increasing quartiles of serum enterolactone concentration to the lowest quartile were, respectively, 0.28 (95% CI: 0.15-0.55), 0.63 (95% CI: 0.35-1.14) and 0.74 (95% CI: 0.41-1.32). CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the hypothesis that certain foods high in phytoestrogens are associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.