Obesity a risk factor for advanced prostate Ca

November 20, 2014

A report analyzing more than 191,000 cases of prostate cancer has found that being overweight or obese increases men’s risk for advanced prostate cancer.

A report analyzing more than 191,000 cases of prostate cancer has found that being overweight or obese increases men’s risk for advanced prostate cancer.

The report also downgrades previous judgments made regarding lycopene and selenium, as well as diets high in calcium.

The report, titled Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prostate Cancer, was released by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International’s Continuous Update Project (CUP) in partnership with the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). It collectively analyzed 104 studies involving over 9.8 million men and more than 191,000 cases of prostate cancer.

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The independent expert panel that authored the report concluded that excess body fat increases the risk for advanced prostate cancers, including aggressive prostate cancers. In fact, AICR said it now estimates that 11% of all advanced prostate cancer cases in the United States could be prevented by being a healthy weight.

“This is the first time our rigorous process has uncovered a clear and consistent link between body fat and prostate cancer. Today, we have something new to tell men worried about this disease: You can take steps to help protect yourself from its most aggressive and deadliest forms,” said CUP panel lead Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, in a press release from AICR.

Dr. Giovannucci noted that in the 7 years since AICR and WCRF International released their second expert report on cancer prevention, the nature of prostate cancer research has changed.

“We now know that not all prostate cancers are the same, and research is only beginning to account for that,” Dr. Giovannucci said.

“Widespread PSA screening has led to the diagnosis of many thousands of prostate cancers that will never become life-threatening, for example. Today’s studies are separating out the aggressive, advanced, and fatal forms of the disease. As they do, it’s become clear that obesity is linked to those aggressive, often deadly forms, and not to the latent or indolent forms that rarely become life-threatening,” he added.

Next: Updates on lycopene, selenium

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The report provided several other updates from the 2007 edition. In the 2007 report, the AICR/WCRF concluded that strong evidence linked foods containing lycopene to lower risk of prostate cancer. The new report downgrades that judgment to a category that states the evidence is too limited to make a conclusion. The report also downgraded a judgment on selenium. Previously, it was found that foods containing selenium (and selenium supplements) were linked to lower risk; the report now finds the evidence is limited, although consistent.

Another previous judgment, that diets high in calcium are linked to increased risk for prostate cancer, dropped to a category of “limited” evidence, meaning it is not strong enough to be incorporated into AICR’s official Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, which will be reviewed in 2017.

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