Excess body weight linked to an increased risk of recurrence after prostate cancer treatment


  • Carrie Printz

Men diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and who have a higher-than-normal body mass index (BMI) have a higher risk of cancer recurrence after treatment, say researchers from the University of Illinois.

Vincent L. Freeman, MD, MPH, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois in Chicago, presented the findings this past spring at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting held March 31 to April 4 in Chicago. He and his colleagues analyzed BMI and the risk of disease recurrence based on the blood prostate-specific antigen level, physical examination, and prostate cancer biopsy results in 119 men scheduled to undergo prostate cancer surgery.

They found that the risk of cancer recurrence increased with increasing BMI. Men in the upper quartile for BMI were nearly 8 times more likely to have prostate cancers with a moderate-to-high risk of recurrence after treatment compared with men in the lower quartile. At the same time, men in the upper-middle quartile for BMI were 6.5 times more likely and those in the lower-middle quartile were 3.5 times more likely to have a moderate-to-high risk of recurrence.

The association was not limited to obese men; just being overweight was associated with an increase in the risk of disease recurrence. Dr. Freeman notes that weight status and related lifestyle factors could be helpful indicators in high-risk cases. In addition, he says their results support a mechanistic link between body weight status and the clinical presentation and course of prostate cancer.