According to a poster recently presented at a South-Eastern Section meeting of the American Urology Association, there is a significant and independent relationship between male height and risk for biochemical recurrence after radical surgery as a treatment for prostate cancer.
The actual poster presented by Singh et al. can be reviewed in detail on the Urology Today web site (but you have to register to be able to see it).
Basically, the authors carried out a detailed, retrospective review of data from 1,559 patients who were treated by radical prostatectomy at Duke University medical center between 2005 and 2009 and whose data were all available in the Duke Prostate Center database. The team from Duke has previously shown that increasing height is a risk factor for aggressive (i.e., clinically significant) forms of prostate cancer. In this study they were focused on whether increasing height was also a risk factor for recurrence after treatment.
Here are the key findings:
- Complete and relevant data were available for 1,013/1,559 patients (65.0 percent)
- The average (mean) height of these 1,013 men was 178 ± 18 cm (about 70 ± 7 inches).
- On crude analysis, height had a small positive trend for increased risk of biochemical recurrence post-surgery (hazard ratio [HR] =1.03, p = 0.072).
- After careful, adjustment for potential pathological co-founders, height was still found to be significantly associated with increased risk for biochemical failure (HR = 1.034, p = 0.032).
- Other independent predictors of biochemical recurrence (as one might expect) were PSA level, high-grade Gleason scores, positive surgical margins, and seminal vesicle invasion (p ≤ 0.006).
- There was no significant relationship between height and any single adverse pathological outcome based on multivariate analysis.
Singh et al. conclude that, “In the current study, height was a significant risk factor for biochemical failure.” They note that, for each additional centimeter difference in height, the relative risk for biochemical recurrence goes up by 3.4 percent.