Metabolic aberrations and risk for prostate cancer


According to a newly published study of data from > 285,000 European males (the Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer Project), men with metabolic aberrations are at slightly less risk for a diagnosis of prostate cancer compared with men who have normal levels of metabolic factors … but their risk for prostate cancer-specific mortality is similar.

This new study, reported by Häggström et al. in the journal Epidemiology, is based on data collected from 285,040 men in Norway, Sweden, and Austria followed for an average time period of 12 ± 8 years, starting 1 year after the collection of their baseline health data. The key metabolic factors studied by the authors were body mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and serum levels of glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. High levels of such metabolic factors are considered to be “aberrant” compared to levels in the recommended “normal” ranges.

Key findings of the study at baseline and during the average 12-year follow-up period were that:

  • The average (mean) age of the study population was 44 years at baseline.
  • 129,108/285,040 men in the study (45.3 percent) had a BMI in the recommended “normal” range at baseline.
  • 125,757/285,040 men in the study (44.1 percent) were overweight at baseline, with a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 kg/m2.
  • 30,175/285,040 men in the study (10.6 percent) were obese at baseline, with a BMI of 30.0 or higher.
  • 5,893/285,040 men (2.1 percent) were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
    • 1,366 men were diagnosed in the “pre-PSA era” (i.e. prior to January 1, 1997, when PSA testing started to become commonplace in the relevant countries).
    • 4,527 men were diagnosed in the “PSA era” (i.e., on or after January 1, 1997).
  • 1,013/5,893 prostate cancer patients (17.2 percent) died from their cancer (which equates to < 0.4 percent of the entire study cohort).
  • 26,328/285,040 men (9.2 percent) died from other causes.
  • In the pre-PSA era, for men up to 80 years of age
    • 6 percent were diagnosed with prostate cancer among those with normal metabolic levels.
    • 5 percent were diagnosed with prostate cancer among those with aberrant metabolic levels.
    • The risk of death from any cause was 37 percent.
  • In the PSA era, for men up to 80 years of age
    • 13 percent were diagnosed with prostate cancer among those with normal metabolic levels.
    • 11 percent were diagnosed with prostate cancer among those with aberrant metabolic levels.
    • 2 percent died of prostate cancer among those with normal metabolic levels.
    • 2 percent died of prostate cancer among those with aberrant metabolic levels
    • 30 percent died of other causes among those with normal metabolic levels.
    • 44 percent died of other causes among those with aberrant metabolic levels.
    • The risk of death from any cause was 47 percent.

Thus, despite the fact that men with aberrant metabolic levels have a slightly lower risk for diagnosis of prostate cancer than men with normal metabolic levels:

  • It makes no significant difference to their risk for prostate cancer-specific mortality, but
  • Men with aberrant metabolic levels have a significantly higher risk for all-cause mortality

The main “take away” from this study for men as they grow older is that aberrant metabolic levels probably do not really much real impact on your risk for a diagnosis of prostate cancer or your risk of dying from prostate cancer … but they really do have a significant impact on your likelihood for death from causes other than prostate cancer!

The full text of this paper is freely available on line for interested readers. Just click on the “Article as PDF” link on the right of the abstract.

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