The prostate cancer news de jour: Thursday, August 7

There is an interesting report in Urology on the relationship between indicators of sexual and somatic development and risk for prostate cancer. We would observe, however, that this is a relatively small, retrospective study and is highly dependent on self-reported patient data.

Barba et al. analyzed available data from a population-based, case-control study in Erie and Niagara Counties, New York. The participants included 64 men with incident, primary, histologically confirmed prostate cancer (stage B and greater) and 218 controls, who had been frequency matched by age and residential area.  The authors compared the adjusted mean age at first shaving and age at maximal shoe size and calculated the odds of body size at ages 10 to 13 years using statistical models. Note that all information regarding the variables of interest was self-reported.

The patients showed no evidence of older age at first shaving and no significant evidence of older age at the maximal shoe size. However, the participants who defined themselves as being as heavy as or heavier than their peers at age 10 to 13 years showed a decreased risk for prostate cancer compared with participants who were thinner than their peers. 

Barba et al. conclude that their results support a role for the indicators of somatic development and adolescent body size in predicting prostate cancer risk, suggesting that risk determinants operating early in life affect men’s subsequent risk for prostate cancer. The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink is less certain that this conclusion is justifiable. Rather, we consider that this is the sort of data that emphasizes the need for a true, long-term, prospective, population-based study of risk for and management of urologic cancers in a large, well-defined population over 40-50 years (a urologic equivalent of the Framingham Heart Study).

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