But can exercise lower risk for prostate cancer diagnosis or progression?


In an incidentally timely manner, the May issue of Annals of Oncology carries a systematic review and meta-analysis of data on physical activity and risk for prostate cancer.

This article by Benke et al. is based on a re-analysis of data from 48 cohort studies and 24 case–control studies that included a total of 151,748 cases of prostate cancer, and the average (mean) age of the study participants at baseline was 61 years.

Once again, the full text of this article is freely available on line and so interested readers can study thsi for themselves. However, the basic findings of the study are as follows:

  • A clear answer to whether exercise/physical activity protects against prostate cancer is still unavailable, but …
  • Long-term occupational physical activity may reduce overall risk for prostate cancer
  • Overall physical activity performed after diagnosis may reduce risk for prostate cancer-specific mortality.

Even though, as we saw at the annual meeting of the AUA just a couple of weeks ago, the MEAL study did not show any impact on risk for prostate cancer progression over 2 years in men with low-risk forms of prostate cancer who were on active surveillance, there remains the reasonable possibility that a combination of diet and physical activity/exercise might be able to impact:

  • Overall risk for diagnosis with prostate cancer over a man’s lifetime
  • Overall risk for progression of low- and some intermediate-risk forms of prostate cancer in men on active surveillance
  • Risk for prostate cancer progression in men who are treated for localized prostate cancer
  • Risk for prostate cancer-specific mortality in some groups of men diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated for their disease

How to do trials that could help us to substantiate any of these ideas remains challenging because of the very long follow-up time necessary to draw reasonable conclusions, quite apart from the large numbers of patients who would be needed to participate in such trials.

One Response

  1. Basis for Impact of Physical Activity (PA) After Diagnosis on PCa Mortality

    The phrase “may reduce” is certainly merited in the above summary, but I was especially impressed by the following sentence in the abstract: “Moreover, PA after diagnosis was related to reduced risk of PCa mortality among survivors of PCa (summary RR based on four studies = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.55–0.85).” These studies were references 20, 21, 101, and 145, and they involved 15,396 subjects, which is an impressive number.

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