Circumcision and the risk of prostate cancer

Authors

  • Jonathan L. Wright MD, MS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Urology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
    2. Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
    • Department of Urology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Health Sciences Building, 1959 NE Pacific, BB-1115, Box 356510, Seattle, WA 98195

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    • Fax: (206) 543-3272

  • Daniel W. Lin MD,

    1. Department of Urology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
    2. Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
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  • Janet L. Stanford PhD

    1. Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington
    2. Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Several lines of evidence support a role for infectious agents in the development of prostate cancer (PCa). In particular, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been implicated in PCa etiology, and studies have found that the risk of acquiring a STI can be reduced with circumcision. Therefore, circumcision may reduce PCa risk.

METHODS:

Participant data collected as part of 2 population-based case-control studies of PCa were analyzed. Self-reported circumcision status, age at circumcision, and age at first sexual intercourse were recorded along with a history of STIs or prostatitis. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the relative risk of PCa by circumcision status.

RESULTS:

Data from 1754 cases and 1645 controls were available. Circumcision before first sexual intercourse was associated with a 15% reduction in risk of PCa compared to that of uncircumcised men (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73-0.99). This risk reduction was observed for cases with both less aggressive (odds ratio, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.74-1.04) and more aggressive (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.66-1.00) PCa features.

CONCLUSIONS:

Circumcision before first sexual intercourse is associated with a reduction in the relative risk of PCa in this study population. These findings are consistent with research supporting the infectious/inflammation pathway in prostate carcinogenesis. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.

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