Obesity and Prostate Cancer Risk

I just published a new paper linking obesity to an increased risk of prostate cancer after an initial benign biopsy that is getting some nice media attention.  Our work shows that among men who have had a prostate biopsy that was negative for cancer, obese men, as compared to normal weight men, had a significantly higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in the years following that initial biopsy.  This risk was particularly high for a diagnosis occurring in the first four years after biopsy.  We also found that obesity was associated with the presence of pre-cancerous cells in the initial biopsy.

We know that obese men have a higher risk of dying of prostate cancer, but medical science hasn’t determined whether obesity puts men at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer or makes it more difficult to survive prostate cancer (or both).  This new work, particularly the finding that obesity is associated with the presence of pre-cancerous cells in otherwise benign biopsy specimens, suggests that obesity may be involved in the development of prostate cancer.

NYTimes.com, NBC.com and the Huffington Post have reported on the research and the NY Times is scheduled to write about it in the Tuesday Science Times.