Obese men are more likely to have precancerous changes detected in benign
prostate biopsies and are at increased risk for eventually developing prostate
cancer, new research suggests.
For the study, researchers examined data from nearly 500 men who were
followed for 14 years after undergoing an initial prostate biopsy that was found
to be noncancerous, or benign.
Prostate abnormalities were detected in 11% of the patients, and these
abnormalities were strongly associated with obesity, said study author Andrew
Rundle, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman
School of Public Health in New York City.
After taking into account factors including family history of prostate
cancer, the researchers concluded that obesity at the time of the initial biopsy
was associated with a 57% increased risk of developing prostate cancer during
the 14 years of follow-up.
This association, however, was seen only for prostate cancer that occurred
earlier in the follow-up period, according to the study, which was published in
the issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers &
Body size and prostate size
"We don't absolutely know what the true biology is," Rundle said. "In some ways, this reflects the association between the body size and larger
prostate size, which is thought to reduce the sensitivity of the needle biopsy.
It is possible that the tumours missed by initial biopsy grew and were detected
in a follow-up biopsy."
The association found in this study does not prove cause and effect.
Rundle noted that previous studies "have attempted to determine if there are
subpopulations of men diagnosed with benign conditions that may be at a greater
risk for developing prostate cancer. This is one of the first studies to assess
the association between obesity and precancerous abnormalities."
These findings indicate that obesity "should be considered a factor for more
intensive follow-up after a benign prostate biopsy," Rundle said.
The American Cancer Society has more about prostate