Obesity increases risk of prostate cancer recurrence, regardless of race

September 10, 2009

Obesity plays no favorites when it comes to increasing the risk of prostate cancer recurrence after surgery, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Being overweight is equally bad for African-American and white men.

Obesity plays no favorites when it comes to increasing the risk of prostate cancer recurrence after surgery, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Being overweight is equally bad for African-American and white men.

Because African-Americans are more likely than whites to develop and die from prostate cancer and because there is a higher prevalence of obesity among African-American men with prostate cancer compared with white men, some studies have suggested that obesity might be a more ominous risk factor for African-American than white men.

"Not so," said Stephen Freedland, MD, senior author of the study, published in the Aug. 10 online Cancer. "Obesity leads to worse cancer in both groups."

Researchers examined the records of 1,415 men enrolled in the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) database who had undergone a radical prostatectomy. African-American men comprised 47% of the sample.

After adjusting for various preoperative characteristics, researchers analyzed the relationship between body mass index and cancer aggressiveness. In contrast to other studies, investigators found no association between race and obesity. Almost one-third of the men were obese, regardless of race.

Higher BMI was associated with significantly increased risk of cancer recurrence in both African-American and white men. Although obesity did not influence risk more in one race than another, it was identified as a risk factor for aggressive disease, regardless of race.