In the first studies to examine the relationship of obesity to prostate cancer, 2 new studies have found that obesity is tied to an increased risk that the cancer will be aggressive and likely to recur after surgery. The researchers stressed that, because all the participants had prostate cancer, the findings apply only to its severity and tendency to recur and do not show whether obesity increases a man's risk of developing the disease.
The first study involved 1106 men, including 676 Caucasians, 287 African Americans, and 143 men from other racial groups. Of the Caucasians, 21% were obese, and among the African Americans 31% were obese. The results, published in theJournal of Clinical Oncology (February 1, 2004), showed that men with a body mass index (BMI) >35 had a 60% risk of having the cancer return within 3 years-a risk that was 2 to 3 times as high as the risk in men with lower BMIs.
The second study involved 3162 patients (2299 Caucasians and 626 African Americans). In the Caucasian group, 18% were obese, and in the African-American group 27% were obese. The research found that a BMI of 30 was linked to more aggressive tumors and a greater risk of recurrence.